Concert Reviews

Candy Claws Debuts New Sound of Ceres Project

Before essentially disappearing from live music in 2012 and quietly releasing its most recent album, Ceres & Calypso in the Deep Time, in 2013, Candy Claws was one of the few bands around on a small budget that managed to create a genuine sense of the otherworldly with its music and the way its members dressed and conducted themselves on stage. It was like you were seeing into the private creative world of some kind of benevolent, hermetic cult evoking nature spirits in an attempt to rekindle a pure spirit of creative imagination.

For this weekend's debut of Sound of Ceres, Karen McCormick and Ryan Hover kept the music lush and full and rather than colorful raiment, set up an arch from which diaphanous banners trailed down through which bright lights and colors could be projected forth and captured for a moment like a symbol for the music itself.

It was a simple set-up, but throughout the show it proved a versatile format to change up the mood and the tone to fit the music. Naturally, McCormick and Hover performed songs that will likely appear on the Sound of Ceres debut record later this year, but they also treated us to some older Candy Claws material and songs from Ceres & Calypso like the gorgeously expansive "Transitional Bird (Clever Girl)." The soothing breeziness of the music with the panoply of colors projected from the back on to the translucent strips, combined with the front projections provided a sense of the season changing from winter to spring — which may not have been an accident on the part of the band. 

Anyone who looked up at the ceiling of the Oriental Theater saw an interesting image, like stylized clouds parting from a direct view of an ancient sun made by the projection from stage. The color contrast there with the greens and blues on the stage really did create an immersive experience particularly with the boost in sonic clarity made possible by the Oriental's new sound system.

Earlier in the night, Oko Tygra has rarely sounded as vivid and Plume Varia never sounded more evocatively full as well. One can only speculate on how powerful Sound of Ceres will be when it can have the full Apples in Stereo accompaniment. Below are a handful of images from the show.

Critic’s Notebook

Bias: Been a fan of Candy Claws since In the Dream of the Sea Life came out.

Random Detail: Plume Varia debuted its latest music video projected onto the screen presumably for "Slumber"/"Altar" due to be released the week of March 8, 2015.

By the Way: Dream pop is alive and well in Denver and this show was proof.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.