Concert Reviews

Last Night: Birdy, Tiny Television, Hello Kavita, Three Cheers Faraday @ Larimer Lounge

Birdy, Tiny Television, Hello Kavita, Three Cheers Faraday October 25, 2007 Larimer Lounge Better than: Watching the Rockies lose Game 2.

An all-local bill of relatively mellow bands on a weeknight during the second game of the World Series shouldn’t have had a chance in hell to draw a decent crowd, but last night’s show at the Larimer beat the odds. Granted, much of the crowd was made up of friends and girlfriends of band members, but it was still encouraging to see folks tear themselves away from the TV to see and hear real life. Riffy rock sextet Birdy got the evening off to an early start with an intriguing approach to heavy, atmospheric rock. Unfortunately, Dav Hoof’s distractingly off-key vocals and Colin Bricker’s incessant gum-chewing revealed the group’s relative inexperience. The three-song EP the band gave away last night, however, is professional sounding, exciting, and promising, so it will be interesting to see and hear the live performance mature.

Fortunately, Tiny Television raised the bar considerably upon taking the stage. While the musicians assembled on stage to breathe life into Jeremy D’Antonio’s countrypolitan folk songs, last night’s performance felt like a true ensemble performance, with each musician bringing their best game and his or her own unique touch. In addition to D’Antonio’s spirited and soulful playing, Jon Wirtz’s jazzy keywork and the luxurious harmonies of Blue Light’s Jess Mefford were noteworthy highlights.

The night’s biggest surprise came from Corey Teruya’s Hello Kavita. Numbering six last night, the dynamic, energized group really put light and fire into Teruya’s songs. Hello Kavita’s sound often leans toward melancholy, atmospheric country, but last night’s performance injected the songs with pop sweetness and rock stomp. The group even played one song twice to try out two very different arrangements. The first take on “Pensacola” sounded like an outtake from Velvet Underground’s Loaded sessions, while the second could have been a 90s Neil Young album cut. Luke Mossman’s tenacious guitar lines and Jimmy Stofer’s innovative bass work provided much of the drive, and Stofer and violinist/pianist Ian Short’s beautiful vocal harmonies added a Brian Wilson-like shimmer. Stephen Brooks’s heavy-handed drumming hammered home the hardest rocking moments. Unfortunately, it also weighed down some of Hello Kavita’s most graceful and subtle moments, though not enough to spoil the set.

Boulder’s Three Cheers Faraday closed out the night on a high-energy note with a crowd-moving set of bluesy, dancey rock. Technically proficient and impressive musicianship was the hallmark of the quartet’s performance. Most notably, guitarist Stephen Prill broke out some eardrum-bursting, mind-blowing techniques on his well-loved ax and drummer Leor Manilis deftly-yet-brutally abused his kit. Invigorating tempo and time-signature changes kept the waning crowd engaged and guessing. If the group can put together some strong, coherent songs to match its instrumental acumen, Three Cheers will truly be worthy of its name. –- Eryc Eyl Photos by Doug Beam

Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: I’m not a fan of the recent trend of adding more and more stage-filling musicians to a band. How many guitarists can one really hear? For example, I really enjoy Matt Boyer’s music, but it was difficult to tell exactly what his playing added last night to Hello Kavita’s performance. Random Detail: Stephen Brooks once manned the drums for both Machine Gun Blues and Nathan & Stephen. By the Way: On Pearl Harbor Day, Tiny Television and Blue Light will be playing together, along with Tim Pourbaix, at the hi-dive.