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Broncho at Larimer Lounge, 8/27/13

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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 were more like some psychedelic '60s garage band playing riffs more grounded in '90s noise rock.

See also: The ten best concerts in Denver this week

Frontman Ryan Lindsey sang with a calm, cool confidence but he also let loose with fiery yelps and during the instrumental passages, and he leapt in the air to rhythms and dynamics provided by drummer Nathan Price and bassist Johnathon Ford. Guitarist Ben King seemed to synch perfectly together with Lindsey to create interlocking, searing leads and a vivid, sometimes contrasting, tonal layer.

Playing eight tracks from its excellent 2011 debut Can't Get Past the Lips, along with five newer songs, Broncho proved itself capable of writing songs that are strong, defiant and tender. The way the band played the music hit with the force and visceral quality of a punk band but it never quite came off as abrasive. Seamlessly amalgamating proto-punk, post-punk, punk and garage rock, Broncho brought a high level of energy to the stage while exuding a quiet confidence.

The band really got the crowd going with "Try Me Out Sometime." It was especially impressive that the crowd was so engaged considering how little interaction the band had with the crowd. At one point, Lindsey pointed out that Denver was going to be the next capital and made mention of the artwork at DIA. Curtis Wallach from Dudebabes said something about how it was a weird airport to which Lindsey remarked, "Conspiracy weird." Other than this exchange, Broncho didn't interact much with the crowd and instead left it to the music to inspire folks to movement both inwardly and outwardly. At the end of the show, a woman said, "I think I'm going to cry."

Earlier in the night, Dudebabes, kind of cross-dressing punk band, got things going. The outfit blurred the lines in other ways with Ned Garthe of Hindershot "playing" the exercise bike by riding it shirtless and wearing only shorts and socks and shoes. Seth and Spencer Stone played guitar and drums, while Curtis Wallach played an electric banjo crafted by John Rumley and ran it through a Boss Metal Zone pedal.

Suzanne Magnuson fronted the band in full '70s rock star singer regalia, including moustache and sunglasses. The originals were actually fun, but not fully a vehicle for the concept. But when Magnuson announced the band was going to play "Dude Looks Like A Lady" and said it was "an original," you had to laugh and applaud the audacity of peddling a joke that bad without breaking character. Magnuson offered an amusing anecdote about an annoying experience playing with Speedwolf, and it only got funnier when that band's frontman Reed Bruemmer came to the show later.

Stuart Confer stayed away from his signature slate of inspired joking between songs during Hindershot's set, but you can never accuse Hindershot of being boring. Some of us have seen these songs numerous times, but the band still never skimps on the effusive energy and enthusiasm for the material; it's like the group is constantly rediscovering a love for its songs.

Hindershot gives you the impression that the songs and the band could fall apart at any moment with the frantic internal energy -- individually or collectively. The outfit ended the show, as usual, with one of its best songs, the sardonic but hectic "I'm So So-So." Toward the last part of the song, Confer's strap fell off, and he almost tossed the guitar up and caught it while running his pick along the strings twice. He then swung the guitar over his head and laid it down to rest behind his amp.

Next up was Mozes and the Firstborn. Although the band had some technical difficulties with the amp and ended up borrowing one from the Dudebabes, this didn't hamper the group's set. It was a version of garage rock, with the edges smoothed out. The bassist and guitarist were caught up in the many moments of excitement in the way the songs wound out and let loose.

The singer, meanwhile, who also played guitar, had a look in his eye of focused intensity, as though he was looking not at anyone but through everyone. Like its tourmates in Broncho, Mozes took simple melodies and amped them up into epics with tasteful guitar flourishes that was less garage rock than power pop. These guys were a pleasant surprise, and they earned a roomful of new fans that didn't know who they were before tonight.


CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK


Personal Bias: Broncho is one of my favorite rock and roll bands going at the moment, along with Japandroids and a handful of others. Random Detail: The bass player for Mozes and the Firstborn was left handed and had his bass strung upside down. By the Way: Mozes and the Firstborn have a record out this year on the Siluh Records imprint. Highly recommended for anyone into garage rock and straight ahead rock and roll.




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