There are certain nights when Denver seems to reach out and touch perfection, when wandering over to a small venue and seeing some local bands feels like more than that. Instead, it feels like witnessing a moment in movement that will be talked about decades in the future.
Friday night at the Larimer Lounge was gathering of local musicians, similar to the ones that happen many weekends around town. But Friday night for Land Lines' album release show, under the dimmed lights of the venue, which were decorated to look like floating clouds, felt like something bigger. It was all casual and fun, but it was also a moment where everything came together just right, and incredibly talented people walked on stage and expressed true art and what Denver is capable of.
Porlolo was more than the usual duo, with Natalie Tate (of Ark Life) joining the band on keys. Land Lines had decorated the stage with streamers in shades of blue and stringed lights -- it looked like a high school dance. It was perfectly fitting, because listening to Porlolo's tender tunes about romance made you want to slow dance with the person next to you. That band is genuine and soulful and this city is blessed to have a group that are really just buds who, when they decide, to mess around with music, create superb songs.
Snake Rattle Rattle Snake was the official opener for Land Lines, returning the favor of opening duties Land Lanes filled at their album release party only a couple of months prior. Not a pair of eyes in the packed venue was pointed anywhere else but the stage and Hayley Helmericks' voice felt like it moved past the ears, right into your chest, where it hit repeatedly, hard and heavy. Denver should cherish SRRS.
Land Lines, the stars of the night, seemed to pull the energy from the two bands prior and throw it all into Martina Grbac's cello and James Han's synths. Their music is both poppy and reflective, sentimental and brooding. It pulls from the darker parts of the human soul and somehow turn it into delicate beauty. They are just a wonder to watch.
Helmericks and Doug Spencer from SRRS joined them for a few songs, Helmrick's lending vocals, Spencer in the back with his guitar. It was the second time that evening we'd seen musicians creating with each other. That's really all it is, except it seemed like proof of something bigger.
I'm not sure what it is, no one in the middle of something larger than themselves can really name it, you can't when you're that far inside it. But there's this lingering feeling, this thought that keeps pushing its way to the front of the brain, that it's more than just music. It might have started as friends creating music, but it's certainly not ending up that way. It's ending up as all the creative energy in Denver bursting at the seams. It's the right people at the right place at the right time. Inspiration and passion and a lot of hard work and talent coming together in ways no one expected. Every note from Porlolo's guitars and SRRS's mics and Land Lines cello were screaming out something more than just notes. Maybe it wasn't a scream, maybe it was a whisper. But either way, they message was the same: "Pay attention, you're going to want to hear this."
• BACKBEAT'S GREATEST HITS •
- 50 Photos That Prove Red Rocks Is the Most Beautiful Venue on the Planet
- Photos: Musicians Buying (Legal) Weed in Denver
- The Ten Most Underrated Guitarists in the History of Rock
- 50 Ways to Support Your DIY Music Community
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!