It seemed like members from about half the bands Denver were on hand for Born in the Flood's reunion show with Nathan & Stephen and In the Whale at the Gothic. Sure, it's not uncommon to see bands supporting other bands, but this felt like a high school reunion of sorts, as well as a time machine dialed back about four years ago or so.
See also: - Review: Born in the Flood, If This Thing Should Spill - Born in the Flood's passionate rock sets a high-water mark - Nathaniel Rateliff is one of Denver's most lauded and admired singer-songwriters
"It's been a while," Nathaniel Rateliff told a crowd just before beginning the set with "On a Good Day," from 2007's If This Thing Should Spill. Born in the Flood has been on hiatus since Rateliff began focusing solely on his solo project, which started off as the Wheel. While it wasn't a full reunion, as brothers Nathan and Patrick Meese were on guitar and drums, respectively, in place of original members Matt Fox and Mike Hall, original bassist Joseph Pope III, who's also been playing guitar with Rateliff throughout his solo career, helped propel the group through an outstanding hour and fifteen minute set.
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Pulling from a number of cuts from If This Thing Should Spill and the 2005 EP, For Fear That May Not Be, as well as some new material, Rateliff no doubt showed that he could rock with the best of them although he admitted about halfway through the set that he was having a hard time keeping up. But while Rateliff might have been tired, he didn't seem to show it, and the band saved some of the more muscular songs for end. Patrick Meese pounded the hell out of toms on "End of Me," while Rateliff sounded tremendous on the chorus. And "Anthem," always one the band's strongest cuts, was full of energy.
After sixteen songs, the band came back for "Bend," a tune that started somewhat tame but then swelled into one of the more powerful songs of the night. Pope threw down his bass after the song was over and there was a wash of distortion blasting from the amps while the band walked off stage. Rateliff returned a moment later to turn off the amps, and the rest of the band joined him for an a capella tune -- the hidden track on If This Thing Should Spill -- while the crowd clapped along with band.
While Born in the Flood hasn't played in a few years, it's been also while since Nathan & Stephen have played, save for a few reunion shows here and there and as Hearts of Palm. And from the get-go, the nine-piece, which started off as a duo, ran through an hour-long set and proved yet again that they were seriously one of the most fun bands in Denver's history.
With smiles on their faces for most of the jubilant set, Nathan & Stephen opened with the "Going Home" and kept the energy surging throughout the set, running through enthusiastic takes on "Brothers & Sisters" and "Give Them Hell" and the superb "Stand Back Up." Although Nathan & Stephen haven't played much in these parts of the last few years, fans still remember the words and were singing along fervently, especially on "Happier."
While Born in the Flood and Nathan & Stephen feel like veterans of the local scene, the first band, In the Whale, is fairly new duo in the grand scheme of things. Singer/guitarist Nate Valdez and drummer Eric Riley plowed through a vigorous and fuzzed out set a la Black Keys or early White Stripes, only beefier and tons more fun.
Personal Bias: I saw Nathan & Stephen for the first time at the Larimer Lounge about five years ago, and I remember thinking it was the most exuberant shows I've ever seen. They've still got it. So does Born in the Flood.
Random Detail: In the Whale's Nate Valdez was wearing a Casa Bonita Dive Team t-shirt.
By the Way: Did I mention there were a shit ton of musicians in the crowd.
Born in the Flood Gothic Theater - 12/21/12 Englewood, CO
On a Good Day There and Missing Yes We Can Hey Low Flying Clouds Just Having a Good Time Another Night Starting Over Sucks For Fear Fate These Hooks In Debt to the Heart End of Me Anthem Breaks Your Heart
Nathan & Stephen Gothic Theatre - 12/21/12 Englewood, CO
Going Home Like You Don't Care Brothers & Sisters Give Them Hell No Water Be OK Tunnel of Love Goldfish Valentine Stand Back Up Little Squares of Paper
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