Last Night... The BellRays, Architects, the Knew and the Dicky Jaguar Band @ Larimer Lounge

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The BellRays, Architects, The Knew, The Dicky Jaguar Band Thursday, May 15, 2008 Larimer Lounge Better Than: Bothering to get any sleep last night.

So, you say you want to be a rock star, eh? Well, think twice. As the members of the BellRays can attest, the rock star lifestyle isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be...

Well, that is, unless you consider it glamorous having your bass player’s wallet, cell phone and camera swiped in Berlin; disembarking from your flight home to California only to learn that your bags are sixty miles away -- thanks so much nameless-soon-to-be-bankrupt-airline; driving all day and night into the mountains of Colorado only to discover that your beloved tour van just coughed up that integral part of the vehicle that makes it move and you end up being stranded with your equipment in an idyllic little mountain town. It takes more than that to stop the BellRays, though. True rock stars, they rented a car, drove to Denver, borrowed equipment of from the Architects, their Anodyne labelmates, and played a transcendent show at the Larimer Lounge last night. Je t'aime rock & roll!

The Dicky Jaguar Band opened up the evening with a raucous set that set the tone for the evening. This band is a must see. Period. Word to the wise: If you go see these guys keep your jaw low and remember to stick and move, because chances are Dicky will find his way into the crowd and cause trouble — in the best way possible, of course. Guitarists Dave Schutz and Drew Zackery do their best to keep Dicky reined in, while drummer Nathan Byrne and bassist Ridge Zackery follow through with their truth in rhythm, keeping Dicky preoccupied enough to avoid the long arm of the law.

The Knew followed with a worthy set. Given the praise that I’d heard in the local byways, though, I must admit that I was expecting a lot more. The songs I’d heard from the band’s latest EP Holladay led me to believe that its live show would be more compelling. But the music, although far from bad, just seemed to be missing many of the distinguishing flourishes from the album, and the band's showmanship was a little lackluster. Perhaps following Dicky Jaguar -- who flung himself about in front of the stage during the Knew's set -- was a little daunting.

Next up was Kansas City’s Architects, who proceeded to blow the shit out of the lounge. I’d been led to believe that the Architects would play Good-Charlottesque-quasi-pop-punk all night long. Wrong. These three brothers can play! By the time Brandon went hoarse on “Don’t Call It a Ghetto,” I’d changed my mind and accepted Architects as a solid punk-rock outfit.

Which brings us back to the BellRays. These cats truly wail. Lisa Kekaula stalked the stage in a sexy pair of hot pink boots owning the crowd with each step. Bob Vennum moved from bass to guitar after the departure of Tony Fate and made his departure, lamentable as it may be, seem less profound. Bob V. plays guitar every bit as well as he rips on bass. And new bassist Justin Andres is an incredible, augmenting Craig Walters furious beats (Walters played like a madman and was soaked to the skin after the set).

The BellRays gave everything they had last night, dishing out the finest rock, roll and soul I’ve seen in a good long time. The set mixed the old with the new, including tracks like “Snake City” and “Pinball City,” in which Kekaula held the crowd in her lovely hands. By the end, both the crowd and the band were ecstatic. The encore, “Voodoo Train,” left everyone hard, sweet and a little sticky.

-- Matt Scheidler

Critic's Notebook Personal Bias: Sexy women who sing with more power than a nuclear reaction always captivate me. Random Detail: The Lounge can get funky in more ways than one. (What was that smell?) By the Way: Dicky Jaguar Band bassist Ridge Zackery is leaving the band to join the Peace Corps this summer for a twenty-seven month stint in Mongolia. Damn.

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