Jimkata has played music together since middle school.Courtesy of Jimkata
When members of synth-rock band Jimkata decided to reunite after a four-year hiatus, kicking off their first tour in Colorado was a no-brainer. In fact, the band has four stops in the state this week.
"Denver has honestly always been our second home," says drummer Packy Lunn. "It's our mountain Jimkata HQ. Our management team all lived out there, and we'd go see them all the time, and we built a big following out there."
"We're psyched to be back in Denver," adds guitarist Evan Friedell. "We have a big history back there. Denver has been a large part of our career as a band."
Lunn, Friedell and guitarist/keyboardist Aaron Gorsch have known each other since middle school and grew up playing music together in New York. After stops in Steamboat Springs, Fort Collins and Boulder, Jimkata will play the Marquis Theater in Denver on Saturday, January 29.
"We haven't played Colorado since 2016, the last time we were touring heavily," Lunn says. After touring nonstop for a decade, the band decided to take a break with a series of farewell shows, and the pandemic made that break bigger. Now the trio is excited to be back on the road, with a rekindled love for live performance.
"Almost every show, we have a little powwow about how we could improve the sets.The focus has always been connecting and delivering power and joy to people," Lunn says. "Weirdly, the band has grown in the absence of not doing shows. A couple years went by, and we didn't stop writing new music."
On tour, the band will be playing old favorites as well as songs from its 2021 album, Bonfires, which it had dropped gradually, with separate songs leading up to the release in July.
"Everything is a lot more polished, concise and intentionally placed," Lunn says of the new album. "Over the last decade of recording, our albums have gotten slowly more pop, but also conceptually a lot more refined."
He calls this the band's first "bi-coastal record," because the vocals were recorded in California while the rest of the music was recorded in a studio in New York. "We recorded an amount of decent-sounding demos on our own," he recalls. "Then we figure out from what we already recorded what stays and what needs to be replaced. A lot of the stuff that Aaron did for the demos made it onto the record."
And because of the pandemic, "time was on our side for the first time," Lunn says. "It used to be: tour, record a record, tour. It was nice to have the time to record the best version of each song and make them all shine."
Friedell, who writes the lyrics, says that although the songs were written before COVID hit in March 2020, they still carry themes of uncertainty and loss that resonate with the collective experience of the pandemic.
"Lyrically, it can sound kind of heavy, but the shows are a really good time," he promises. "There's an extreme amount of positive energy and catharsis."
Jimkata plays Schmiggity's, 821 Lincoln Avenue in Steamboat Springs, at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 26; the Aggie Theatre, 204 South College Avenue in Fort Collins, at 8 p.m. Thursday, January 27; the Fox Theatre, 1135 13th Street in Boulder, at 9 p.m. Friday, January 28 (tickets are $15); and the Marquis Theater, 2009 Larimer Street, at 8 p.m. Saturday, January 29 (tickets are $18). For more tour dates, visit Jimkata's website.
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Emily Ferguson is Westword's Culture Editor, covering Denver's flourishing arts and music scene. Before landing this position, she worked as an editor at local and national political publications and held some odd jobs suited to her odd personality, including selling grilled cheese sandwiches at music festivals and performing with fire. Emily also writes on the arts for the Wall Street Journal and is an oil painter in her free time.