Tom Murphy

  • Blogs

    August 8, 2014

    The Gaslamp Killer Previewed the New Flying Lotus Album During a Frantic Set at 1up

    The Gaslamp Killer stands out, even when he's part of a long night of wide-ranging modern electronic music. His DJ set spanned decades seamlessly and he has a constant, even hyperkinetic movement -- an effort that makes many musicians not from Denver reel from the exhaustion. In fact, he scoffed at ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 21, 2014

    Sympathy F and the Sleepers brought Denver's alternative rock heyday to life at 3 Kings

    Ask anyone who was around the underground rock scene in Denver in the early '90s and chances are that person at least heard of Sympathy F. Since its 1991 debut at 7 South, a club now known as the hi-dive, Sympathy F became a favorite of peers and fans by virtue of its superb songwriting and the beau ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 26, 2014

    EMA's show proved Lost Lake Lounge has large venue sound with small venue charm

    Bringing the bombast, drama and light show of a larger venue to Lost Lake, EMA and opening act Mas Ysa pushed enough air to test the sound system of most smaller rooms to its limits. Mas Ysa even commented that he thought he was overloading the monitor, but it didn't sound like it on the receiving e ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 23, 2013

    What we're all listening to right now

    Music is life -- or at least it is for us. When we're not writing about it, we're thinking about it, talking about it or listening to it. These are the things that were in heavy rotation for us this week. What are you listening to? What should we be listening to? C'mon, now. Sharing is caring. Don't ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 9, 2013

    Deerhunter at Bluebird Theater, 9/7/13

    DEERHUNTER at BLUEBIRD THEATER | 9/7/13 The other members of Deerhunter were set up ready to go when Bradford Cox made his way on stage clad in some kind of vest with a lot of buttons and/or patches. He was also wearing a Cramps T-shirt, and that was fitting because he also had on an all black wig w ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 28, 2013

    Broncho at Larimer Lounge, 8/27/13

    BRONCHO @ LARIMER LOUNGE | 8/27/13 Broncho hit the stage last night like a great, long lost band from several eras. With its catchy melodies, and its infectious exuberance and aggression, Broncho recalled the Buzzcocks by way of the Stooges, except the guitar sweep and atmospherics was more like som ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 22, 2013

    40th Day at Larimer Lounge, 7/20/13

    40TH DAY @ LARIMER LOUNGE | 7/20/13 The whole 40th Day set felt a bit like me traveling and a creative resurrection at the same time. For whatever reason, it just didn't feel like a reunion show. The felt show felt like the five members of the band were playing music they had written and just hadn't ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 25, 2013

    Westword Music Showcase recap from Bar Standard

    Every year at the Westword Music Showcase, we enlist our army of Backbeat wordsmiths to host various stages. In addition to their emcee duties, we ask them to pull double duty by submitting a travelogue of their individual stage. Tom Murphy hosted at Bar Standard this past Saturday. Keep reading for ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 15, 2013

    Boris at the Bluebird Theater, 5/14/13

    BORIS @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | 5/14/12 The fact that you could hear Atsuo Mizuno's drums or his hype-man shouts at all is a testament to whoever was running sound last night at the Bluebird. With two full Sunn stacks powering Takeshi Ohtani's guitar and a full stack and a half of Orange amps behind Wat ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 30, 2013

    25 reasons the Denver music scene rules

    Denver is the capital of Colorado. It is located exactly one mile above sea level. Weed is legal here, while riding your bike on the sidewalk is not. Your mom can make more free throws than Andre Iguodala -- these are all facts. The music scene here sucks, that is an opinion. The differenc ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 29, 2013

    Breaking up (with multiple people) is hard to do

    My band broke up two weeks ago. For the three or four people who know us and may accidentally find themselves reading this, I won't be discussing why we broke up. Sorry. I know band breakups are really fascinating to everyone who isn't in the band, but it's not really something I can talk about with ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 2, 2013

    Five Iron Frenzy at Casselman's, 12/31/12

    FIVE IRON FRENZY @ CASSELMAN'S BAR AND VENUE |12/31/12 From the very beginning of its New Year's Eve set at Casselman's Bar & Venue in Denver, Five Iron Frenzy brought an enormous amount of energy, fueled by a clear sense of joy at performing. The old fans were incredibly happy to get to see the ba ... More >>

  • Music

    December 27, 2012
  • Blogs

    December 21, 2012

    Get to know Westword's Tom Murphy -- and more! -- at the Onus Spears talk show Rawlitix

    I can vouch for Rawlitix because I was a guest last month, and I had the time of my life. The Denver-centric live talk show conceived and hosted by local funny man and comedy promoter Onus Spears is still finding its legs, but it's a grand idea. Spears focuses on people -- writers, musicians, comics ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 7, 2012

    Hospitality at hi-dive, 10/05/12

    HOSPITALITY @ HI-DIVE | 10/05/12 Hospitality's set made you think of a time when rock bands weren't trying to mine classic rock territory or go for a specific genre, especially at the end of the show when the foursome performed "All Day Today" from its self-titled, debut full-length. Along with the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 25, 2012

    Goldrush Music Festival at Deerpile, 9/21-9/22

    GOLDRUSH 2 @ DEER PILE | 9/21/12-9/22/2012 By Leya Lynette and Tom Murphy The hype around Goldrush 2 had not been identical to that of Goldrush 1. the original crew that did the booking had changed, and the festival this year focused on more under the radar acts from around the country in comparis ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 20, 2012

    My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult at the Bluebird Theater, with Left Spine Down, 9/19/12

    MY LIFE WITH THE THRILL KILL KULT @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | 9/19/12 It comes as a bit of a shock when people slam into you for the first time after a dozen songs. That's exactly what happened last night when My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult dialed up "After the Flesh." From the start of the sample and ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 15, 2012

    Science Partner at Larimer Lounge, 9/14/12

    SCIENCE PARTNER @ LARIMER LOUNGE | 9/14/12After ten songs, the audience didn't want Science Partner to go -- so Tyler Despres, Maria Kohler and Jess DeNicola stayed on stage to do their original Miley Cyrus-themed song. Despres had joked about how if the audience knew the words, it could sing along ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 1, 2012

    The Don'ts and Be Carefuls at Hi-Dive, 8/31/12

    THE DONT'S AND BE CAREFULS @ HI-DIVE | 8/31/12 The Don'ts and Be Carefuls have never been ones to skimp on their emotional generosity on stage. So in that regard, this final performance was not that much different from the band's already high standard. But it was just a notch better because on this ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 20, 2012

    Dead Can Dance at Temple Buell, 8/19/12

    DEAD CAN DANCE @ TEMPLE BUELL THEATRE | 8/19/12 See also: Dead Can Dance's Brendan Perry on the trance-inducing powers of making music in 6/8 time After a mesmerizing set, Dead Can Dance came back on stage for the first encore of the night to the sounds of an organic-industrial beat, azure backlig ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 12, 2012

    The Lumineers at Bluebird Theater, 5/11/12

    THE LUMINEERS @ BLUEBIRD THEATER | 5/11/12 Wesley Schulz announced that the band was going to perform a Sawmill Joe song and it was obvious much of the crowd knew what was coming, as The Lumineers started the song and brought Joe back on stage. Between pretty much all the members of the band, a gre ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 10, 2012
  • Blogs

    March 19, 2012

    Review: The Joy Formidable and A Place to Bury Strangers at the Bluebird Theater, 3/17/12

    THE JOY FORMIDABLE @ BLUEBIRD | 3/17/12With a sample of spoken words as an intro, one of the moments in the set where The Joy Formidable shined the brightest was during "Buoy." From its moody, murky beginning to its steady, rapid progression into something altogether more bombastic and expansive, th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 20, 2012

    Review: English Dogs at Summit Music Hall, 2/19/12

    ENGLISH DOGS @ SUMMIT MUSIC HALL | 2/19/12 Throughout the show, Adie Bailey of English Dogs came off the stage and sang with the crowd just over the barrier and encouraged people to sing into the mike. But it was halfway through the show that Bailey figured he could trust people in the crowd well e ... More >>

  • Music

    December 22, 2011
  • Blogs

    October 9, 2011

    Review: Melt Banana at Larimer Lounge, 10/8/11

    MELT BANANA at the LARIMER LOUNGE | 10/8/11Nothing can fully prepare you for the sounds coming off stage at a Melt Banana show unless you've seen the band before. Between the breakneck rhythms, Yasuko Onuki's demented and rapid-fire vocal delivery and Ichirou Agata's ability to meld noise with exper ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 28, 2011

    Best Denver concert photos of September, 2011

    Holy crap, there were a lot of shows this month. It was difficult to pick our favorites of the bunch, especially with big-name acts like Taylor Swift, DMX, Blink 182 and Ke$ha rocking the stages in Colorado. We have so many photos, it's tough to sift through them all, which is why we've hand-selecte ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 23, 2011

    Mike Watt & the Missingmen at the Larimer Lounge, with Il Cattivo and Lion Sized, 4/22/11

    Tom MurphyMike Watt & Missingmen MIKE WATT & THE MISSINGMEN With Ill Cattivo and Lion Sized 04.22.11 | Larimer Lounge There are a small handful of bands that would have been great openers for a show like this, and Ill Cattivo and Lion Sized are two of them. The former started off the show with a c ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 23, 2011

    Swans at Summit Music Hall, 2/22/11

    Tom MurphySwans​ SWANS With Wooden Wand 02.22.11 | Summit Music Hall Last night, James Jackson Toth, aka Wooden Wand, was joined by two other guitar players -- Brian Lowery and William Tyler. And although there were three guitars and the guys were playing through Orange amps, they did not pr ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 10, 2011

    Gem Trails, Thundercade, Kevin Costner Suicide Pact at the Meadowlark, 01/07/11

    Tom MurphyGem Trails is Trevor Peterson​ GEM TRAILS With Thundercade and Kevin Costner Suicide Pact Meadowlark | January 7, 2011 Gem Trails is the solo side project of Trevor Peterson from Woodsman. From this performance, the name is appropriate for the spectral, glistening streaming of guit ... More >>

  • Music

    December 30, 2010
  • Blogs

    November 2, 2010

    Tim Kasher, Azure Ray at the hi-dive, 11/01/10

    Tom MurphyTim Kasher​ TIM KASHER With Azure Ray and Tim Fite 11.01.10 | hi-dive Tim Fite was equal parts comedian, provocateur, performance artist, filmmaker, MC, hip-hop producer and indie pop songwriter. At least that's what his energetic and compelling set felt last night like at differen ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 18, 2010

    PS I Love You at hi-dive, 10/17/10

    Tom MurphyVan Louvin​ PS I LOVE YOU With Van Louvin and Paean 10.17.10 | hi-dive Van Louvin opened this show. Those who have been around the Denver scene long enough would recognize its members from some of best indie pop bands of the past decade, namely Kent Phillips and Al Rich from Thank ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 15, 2010

    Over the Weekend: The Buckingham Squares at the Mercury Cafe

    Tom MurphyThe Buckingham Squares​ The Buckingham Squares • Receiver Voodoo Stingray • The Nuns of Brixton • 03.13.10 | Mercury Cafe Maybe actually wearing nun habits as part of the stage costume is a gimmick, but for The Nuns of Brixton, it left an impression. As the name implies, the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 25, 2010

    Over the weekend: Mustangs & Madras farewell show at 3 Kings Tavern

    Mustangs and Madras farewell show With Get Three Coffins Ready, Only Thunder, the Gunshy and Git Some Saturday, January 23, 2010 3 Kings Tavern Better Than: Virtually every other five-band bill I've seen. Tom MurphyGet Three Coffins Ready​ The five members of Get Three Coffins Ready played t ... More >>

  • Music

    December 31, 2009
  • Music

    December 24, 2009
  • Blogs

    December 14, 2009

    Over the weekend: Moore, Blindfold the Devil, Born in Winter at the Gothic

    Tom MurphyBlindfold the Devil​Moore, Blindfold the Devil and Born in Winter Friday, December 11, 2009 Gothic Theatre Better Than: A lot of metal shows I've seen. Blindfold the Devil, a four-piece with the lead vocalist also playing guitar, kicked off its set with its speed/thrash metal sound, whi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 14, 2009

    The blog shortcut, August 14 edition

    Photo by Tom MurphyThe Sunn O))) will come out tomorrow....​Getting your weekend off on the right note.... Today in Backbeat Online: • Last night: Sunn O))) at the Bluebird. • Hearsay bits: Van Morrison, Yonder Mountain String Band, Tyler Despres Band, Pictureplane. • Freaky Friday - "P ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 16, 2008

    Mile High Makeout: So this is the new year, part 1

    You'll soon be bombarded with a million year-end lists, proclaiming the most important, amazing, must-have albums and songs of the year. In fact, the lists have already begun. As a writer, I'm not particularly fond of these lists. After all, there's no way I heard even a fraction of all the music th ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 22, 2008

    Q&A with Diplo

    In the October 23 issue we posted excerpts of Tom Murphy’s recent conversation with Diplo (aka Wesley Pentz). The quotes used in that piece were taken from the following interview posted after the jump, in which Diplo Mad Decent, his record label and Heaps Decent, a program devoted to underprivile ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 10, 2008

    Q&A with Stereolab's Tim Gane

    In the October 9 issue, we ran excerpts of Tom Murphy's recent interview with Tim Gane from Stereolab. The following is the transcript from their entire conversation.

  • Blogs

    August 5, 2008

    Live Review: Eef Barzelay w/The Tanukis and Pee at Hi-Dive

    Eef Barzelay played the Hi Dive Monday night. Photos by Tom Murphy. Eef Barzelay w/The Tanukis and Pee Pee Monday, August 4th, 2008 Hi-Dive, Denver Better Than: A show with songwriters peddling hackneyed premises. When I got to the Hi-Dive, I discovered I’d missed all but the last two songs by ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 4, 2008

    Live Review: Fertile Crescent, Hot White August and Yoda's House at Rhinoceropolis

    Photo: Tom Murphy Yoda's House The Fertile Crescent, Hot White and Yoda’s House Saturday, August 2, 2008 Rhinoceropolis Better Than: Having to spend the money to go to the actual Middle East to hear music like this. It was still a sweltering 90 some-odd degrees by the time I got to the Rhino l ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 4, 2008

    Live Review: the Threatened and the Wilder Situation at Larimer Lounge

    Photo: Tom Murphy The Threatened The Threatened and the Wilder Situation Sunday, August 3, 2008 Larimer Lounge Better Than: Everything else going on late on a baking Sunday night. The members of the Threatened, who played an acoustic show without their drummer, informed us sometime toward the en ... More >>

  • Music

    December 27, 2007

    Moovers and Shakers 2007

    Backbeat scribes sound off on their favorite local releases of the year.

  • Music

    December 20, 2007

    Moovers and Shakers 2007

    Backbeat scribes sound off on their favorite local releases of the year.

  • Music

    December 28, 2006


    Our music writers pick the years national bests.

  • Music

    December 21, 2006

    Moovers and Shakers 2006

    Backbeat writers sound off on the best local releases of 2006.

  • Music

    December 7, 2006

    Listen Up

    Fast reviews of recent releases

  • More >>