Concert Reviews

Last Night: Jason Roth, Cap’n Fresh & the Stay Fresh Seals, and All Teeth And Knuckles @ Larimer Lounge

Jason Roth, Cap’n Fresh & the Stay Fresh Seals, and All Teeth And Knuckles August 27, 2007 Larimer Lounge Better than: Weeping into your Miller Lite over the incisive musings of another brilliant singer-songwriter.

Tard-tronica. Electrobotomy. Hip-schlock. Call it what you will and make of it what you will, but the deliberately dumb dancefloor detonator is back with a vengeance. Tonight’s bill at the Larimer proved there’s plenty of life left in analog synthesizers, TR-505 drum machines and intentionally clumsy white-boy raps. Blame Daft Punk. Blame LCD Soundsystem. Blame the disaffected youth who now lose more sleep over global warfare than any generation since the Cold War ended and just need something – anything – to take their minds off their troubles.

After Jason Roth set the tone for a consciously non-indie rock night with his eclectic DJ set, Cap’n Fresh and the Stay Fresh Seals set up their musical revue in front of the Larimer’s stage. A makeshift shower – consisting of hastily assembled PVC pipe and a shower curtain – occupied stage right, while a cardboard facsimile of a sink and vanity was constructed stage left. While mysterious hype-man Cody mimed scratching on the sink and danced wildly in the “shower” and in the crowd, Cap’n Fresh – whom you might have heard during his eight-year run as a DJ on KGNU or might have seen rockin’ in Bill Picketts Invitational Rodeo – rhymed and writhed over pre-recorded tracks. Mixing the Cap’n’s portable CD player with his live vocals proved a challenge for the Larimer’s sound system, so the subtleties of the beats – such as they were – and much of the rump-rattling power was lost. However, the Cap’n and Cody gave their all, picking up somewhere between where Warlock Pinchers left off and DJ Food picked up. While a few of the Larimer’s denizens took cover at the bar or on the patio – perhaps uncomfortable or just plain perplexed by the duo’s personal-hygiene themed take on hip-hop – the small-but-supportive crowd on the floor bumped and thumped along in appreciation of the goofball gangsta-ism, especially during the UTFO bite/tribute, “Cap’n Cap’n.” Find the Cap’n at Bar Bar on Wednesday to get your hands on his CD-R demo, The Soap EP.

Headliner All Teeth and Knuckles rolled into Denver yesterday afternoon after a brutally disappointing show in Des Moines. You wouldn’t know it, however, for all the alacrity the San Francisco-based outfit put into their Denver set. Based on the crew’s debut album, Club Hits to Hit the Clubs With, you might have expected a duo to take the stage with a laptop, mikes and some silly props, but lead Knuckle Patric Fallon and his partner-in-crime, Gio de la Cruz, actually cranked out a fair amount of their electro-punk hip-hop live, and were even joined on stage by a flesh-and-blood drummer. With plenty of punk attitude and club-kid coolness, the trio shook the sparse Monday night crowd as if playing to a packed house. If Mick Jagger had been kicked out of the Beastie Boys and forced to roadie for Peaches, he might have looked and sounded like Fallon. With a Mona Lisa smile permanently glued to his face, de la Cruz pumped out fat bass lines and analog skronks on a bank of synths, while Fallon manned the laptop, twiddled knobs, and, most importantly, mugged, danced and rapped like nothing but Red Bull and vodka runs through his veins. With their manic energy and party-hearty attitude, the trio should have been able to incite a Dionysian dancefloor orgy of Caligulan proportions. Unfortunately, the small crowd was too aware of itself to shake off its inhibitions and join the ATAK. – Eryc Eyl

Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: I have been drawn to the anesthetizing effects of electro music in recent weeks, after some minor girl trouble had me thinking way too much. Random Detail: Cap’n Fresh is also a Denver cabdriver who will be taking some time off next month – from music, driving and his radio show – to travel to Africa for the Ethiopian millennium celebration. This is not a joke. By the Way: Patric Fallon, who uses the stage name “Sick Face,” was also in a Chicago hardcore-moderne band called the Evaluation. That band’s Lujo Records release was titled We Built the Gun That Causes This Unending Fear.

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Sean Cronin