"To tell you the truth, I don't really like you fucking people," screams vocalist J.R., cloaked in Truman Capote-sunglasses and a "Who the Fuck Is Mick Jagger?" T-shirt. "We just got back from Mexico, and those fuckers are poor and tired and they don't have shit, but they know how to rock so much harder than all of you." Making such comments, as well as spitting beer, wriggling about and climbing on amps, is the Volts' way of winning over audience members, some of whom try limply to start a mosh pit before being stopped by Market staff. Maris the Great does his ghoul dance in time with the Volts' palpitating beat, eventually succumbing to J.R.'s wiles, an exhausting thing just to watch. (Fortunately, he's given a break when he ventures over to Rachel & Andy's more slowly paced set at LoDo's.)
8 p.m.: Erica Brown is back on stage at B-52, this time in a blazing red Falcon Crest gown and matching wig, as part of the Cherry Bomb Club. People are simply freakin' out in the crowd -- and on stage. Co-vocalist Legendary, sporting his trademark yellow jumpsuit, is one of the most energetic performers in town; he's like a hyper-talented little boy who likes to show off. During the course of the Club's set, he demonstrates about ten different dances (the Scorpion is a particular hit), stands on his head (sort of) and generally hops around making funny faces. This might sound annoying; it's not. You get the sense that when the Cherry Bomb Club plays live, its members are so excited, they almost can't contain themselves. This is the mark of a great live act -- as is the ability to inspire a crowd of people who have never seen a particular band before to dance with total abandon. They do, in fact, rock the body. Afterward, riled-up revelers consider climbing into the bar's aforementioned airplane cockpit. Instead, they leave and are soon covered in a light dusting of snow. At least it's not sticking. At LoDo's, the Orangu-Tones have ditched their trademark matching suits for togas, but the vibe is more Animal House than ancient Greece. Maraca Five-O races through a set at Market 41, but -- what's this? -- bassist Theron Melchoir is playing in an arm sling. He reportedly suffered a nasty spill on a local mountain and spent the entire ambulance ride muttering incomprehensibly about Shirley Temple. Melchoir toughs it out for the benefit of the cocktail-consuming crowd. If you drink too much, ooh, ooh, you'll awake with a tummy ache.
9 p.m. to midnight: As 9 p.m. approaches, so does a flurry of a certain type of music lover -- and these earthy fans sure as hell aren't coming for Burn Circuit. The Soiled Dove is suddenly the most desirable destination in town, as a line forms outside for the chance to see Leftover Salmon, which had agreed to move inside when it became clear the cold front had no plans to retreat. Inside is a chaotic, congested cluster of humanity as people clamor for views, brews and dancing space. The band sounds great, the audience is just digging it, and it's hard not to appreciate the opportunity to see such a big band in such a small room. The set is punctuated by the unlikely, spontaneous guest rapping of Apostle (who bumped his own show back in order to accommodate the Salmon fellows). Also joining the band on the mike is Scott Stoughton, vocalist for Sucker. I get my jam on as much as possible, inhale the body odors of others, then leave after having the somewhat uncomfortable experience of seeing co-workers get down.
From here, the night becomes something of a blur. Marty Jones and the Pork Boilin' Poor Boys offer some of the best lyrics of the evening in their set at B-52, the band's first with Mr. Tree guitarist Soapy Argyle: "You let another penis/ Come between us/And that's why I'm over you," from "I Got Over You (When You Got Under Him)." Nina Storey follows with a far less plucky set, a moment of reprieve in an increasingly chaotic night. At LoDo's, Eric Shiveley mans both vocals and drums (rather than his usual guitar) during his show, although all eyes are on bassist Chuck Hwang, who's outfitted in huge plastic ears and a blue cap. It's positively Smurfy.
12:30 a.m.: Clearly, the showcase is going to run into the wee, wee hours: Because of all the schedule changes, the final acts probably won't reach a stage until 1 a.m. or later. Still, there are plenty of kids on hand to mosh along to Rocket Ajax, to get down with Apostle and his band, to check out Burn Circuit and its surprisingly docile nun. When it comes time for Otis Taylor to take the Dove stage, however, many of the hangers-on seem more interested in swilling than listening. Too bad, as Taylor and guitarist Eddie Turner rip through a stripped-down set that really illuminates both players' skills. At one point, they engage in a sort of staring contest/ playing match that simply smolders. Next door, nGoMa displays plenty of good musicianship and sportsmanship, considering the band's been bumped back more than an hour. In a similar scheduling situation is DeVotchKa, which spent the day returning from a regional loop of live shows. Bandmembers are tired, they want to go home, it's clarinetist/violinist Tom Hagerman's birthday. Still, when it's their turn, it's hard to get them to stop. The set is brilliant, highlighted by Jeanie Schroeder on standup bass and sousaphone. Schroeder, a classically trained musician, has never played with a rock-and-roll-type band before -- never mind spending more than a week in a cramped van with a bunch of boys. She rocks like a pro, though, and is a delight to watch. The crowd does some drunken dancing (who knew Phil the Fan could tango so well?), and the band plays on. But the music must end eventually, and when it's past 2 a.m., it's time to go home. Probably well past time. Goodnight, Denver. See you next year.