Camped out for the Wheel, Bad Weather California and Young Coyotes

For me, Friday night's show at the hi-dive embodied everything that I love about Denver's shimmering live music scene. With three heavy hitters on the bill from three different-yet-complementary genres, I just wanted to camp out forever, right in front of the hi-dive's humble stage. Any one of the bands playing that night -- The Wheel, Bad Weather California or Young Coyotes -- could have been the headliner, and the near-capacity crowd knew it.

Perhaps because the show was an 18-and-up -- or maybe because people are drawn to bands with feral canines in their names -- there were plenty of neophytes at the hi-dive on Friday night. During the Wheel's opening set, a young girl turned to me and asked, "Who is this guy?" I was delighted. This was followed by Chris Adolf's Bad Weather California, who played a riveting set, even though it was not one of the band's best nights. Finally, Young Coyotes took the stage and proved that all the hype about their infectious melodies and ecstatic, unison singing is justified. This was only my second time catching Adam Halferty and Zach Tipton, and I think everyone around me (other than the drunk dudes who were trying to start a fight) was as captivated by their inside-out pop songs and passionate performances as I was. Throughout the night, the mix was perfect, thanks to Xandy Whitesel's expert ears.

What made the night really special, though, was simply having these three bands playing under one roof to a packed house. People living in, say, Butte, Montana, would give up their Castro caps for just one band that was half as good as any of these three. But we have them all -- and hundreds more. It's enough to make you want to pitch a tent.

By the way, if you missed it and/or feel like supporting a worthy cause, you can catch this very same lineup -- plus singer-songwriter Dan Craig -- as part of a Deliver Darfur benefit show at Everyday Joe's non-profit coffeehouse in Fort Collins this Saturday.

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Eryc Eyl
Contact: Eryc Eyl