If there was any question as to whether this show was sold out, the line snaking past the Gin Mill just before 7 p.m. dispelled any doubts. Each of the bands on this bill deserve giant pat on the back for surviving a power outage that forced everyone to flood the sidewalk out front and then waiting for everyone to file back into the Marquis when the power was restored to finish the show.
The staff at the Marquis should also be commended for how promptly and professionally it handled the whole situation. But most of all kudos to the die-hard fans who braved the cold to wait for Xcel Energy to fix a blown transformer. In the end, nothing could stop this show -- not a blackout, not a street full of cops and certainly not a Greeley-infused odor blowing through the city.
We Are the In Crowd was just finishing up their set when I walked in. The ratio of band fans to bands seemed relatively low, but the venue was doing its best to hustle everyone in for the show. The merchandise booth stayed packed after each band's set as the members would file out and sign whatever was available and smile for every camera.
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This Century was up next and apparently they rocked a little too hard. Shortly after their set, a transformer blew on Larimer, and a generator exploded in the alley behind the Marquis. This drew the police out to direct traffic on 20th and forced the all ages capacity crowd out into the cold. This Century frontman Joel Kanitz watched the whole thing happen as he and his bandmates were out back loading their van. "The generator basically exploded, and the sparks were flying onto the van," he marveled. "It kind of scared the crap out of everyone. It was kind of awesome, kind of epic, and at the same time the most horrifying thing in the world."
After enduring a long-ass line in the cold, rocking out for a short time and then getting ushered back outside inspired the 400 or so kids gathered on the sidewalk to join along in a sing-a-long outside the Marquis during and impromptu acoustic set that started with "Wonderwall" by Oasis and included a parade of tunes form Blink 182, Simple Plan, Journey, Jimmy Eat World and that sappy Green Day hit, "Time of Your Life." No wonder these bands have such a loyal following. They give the fans what they want -- and then some.
When Hey Monday finally made it to the stage about an hour or so later than planned, Cassadee Pope, the band's cutesy, punky frontwoman thanked everyone for staying -- those who had stayed, anyhow. Some had left, presumably in observance of the imposed curfew. Those who stayed were treated to a tight set. Pope wails. Super hard. In fact, Hey Monday wails. By then, though, everyone seemed worn out from the events of the evening, so it's hard to say if it had the same impact it would have had otherwise. Regardless, fans left with one hell of a story, from a night they're not likely to forget anytime soon.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: This show brought me back to the days of my old Vans Off the Wall Sampler CDs. Random Detail: Officer Tab Davis of the sixth precinct explained that safety was job one. By The Way: The merchandise guys for these bands had tip boxes. I've never thought of tipping a merch guy, but they seemed to be ok with it.