Concert Reviews

Gathering of the Clouds, 10/21/10 - 10/23/10

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Not since the days of the now-defunct Emerald City has anyone seen Achille Lauro much outside the context of a rock club or other such venue. One of the songs, as yet unreleased, which began with a hypnotic synth drone drawn out like something from Dark Side of the Moon, remains one of the band's best to date, and its closing number, "Unicorns and Consent," sounded like someone took an inspired mistake in a synth line and made it into a sample to break conventional ideas of melody.

Perhaps Gangcharger has gotten a lot better in the last few months, or maybe it was the fact that Ethan Ward's parents were at the show and he wanted the band to play better than usual, but there was some edge in the performance to match that sound in the music. It was also possible to hear the nuances in the Gangcharger songs in a way that you don't often get on most sound systems.

The clarity made it possible to appreciate the subtle changes Ward uses in his guitar progressions and how that fits into the rhythm and Paige Peterson's noise-scaping. Adam Rojo and Ward seemed to hurl sounds from the stage with sudden gestures when songs peaked. The act played pretty much entirely from its new album, Free Exhaust, and never sounded better.

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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.