The first time Holli Smith came to Denver to visit her father, she was fifteen and they went to the top of the Daniels & Fisher Tower to watch the Fourth of July fireworks. Now, her rock band Blue Mesa has released a music video shot in the tower, an edifice she describes as a perfect metaphor for the band's new song, "Straight Through Me."
With a spiraling staircase that goes up seventeen stories to a spectacular view of the city, Smith says, "this place is a wonderland...an eerie, eclectic wonderland."
The bandmates shot the video last fall, on the same day that the Zombie Crawl was taking over the 16th Street Mall; they lugged their gear through hordes of gruesome, bloodied masses stumbling around the mall, then carried it up the narrow tower steps. The top room, which they rented, is a cramped space, and that created some difficulties in shooting the video. But the numbers and hands on the clock serve as a perfect — and stylish — backdrop for the band.
Blue Mesa is one of many indie-rock transplant acts that have poured into Denver over the past few years. The members, who hail from cities across the United States, are steeped in the pop punk and emo of the early 2000s, and you can hear it in their sound.
"Naturally, we started playing under the name of Providence, as we truly believed that fate brought us together," says Smith. "We later transitioned to Blue Mesa and released our first full-length album under that name in 2014."
The lyrics to the new song, "Straight Through Me," were born of Smith's struggle with depression.
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"When my guitarists brought this song to me, I felt so strongly about getting myself out of the rut I was in," she says. "At times, I think we all feel small or invisible, or that no one truly sees us for who we are. But maybe it doesn't matter what others think or what I think they see of me. We have to know our own worth and appreciate who we are as individuals. This is a song of inner struggle and triumph."
The band itself, which had a string of shows planned for March, has already begun to reschedule them for fall.
"We couldn't be more excited and ready," says Smith. "We look forward to the day when we can celebrate our city, our music scene, the arts, sports, and really everything this beautiful state has to offer."
Find out more about the band at the Blue Mesa website.