Magic Mice take an Action Packed Thrill Ride

Friday night was one of those almost frustratingly bountiful Denver nights, with an overflowing cornucopia of great musical options from which to choose. Tyler Snow was spinning his Disco Nouveau at the Meadowlark. Devotchka wove their Valentinian magic at the Paramount. Gregory Alan Isakov and the Freight warmed up the Bluebird's stage for Oakhurst. The Pseudo Dates rocked the Lion's Lair, while Herman's Hideaway continued to host the Alice Battle of the Bands, with Epilogues, Sofo and Jason Vigil vying for honors. Audible Abilities thundered through the Toad Tavern. Platte River Killers menaced the Oriental Theater. And P-Nuckle graced its fans with a CD release at the Marquis. I, however, chose the lineup of Action Packed Thrill Ride, the Magic Mice and the Little Ones at the hi-dive, washed down with the Faint rocking the decks at Lipgloss. I was not disappointed.

Action Packed Thrill Ride and the Magic Mice are both bands I'd heard recordings of, but had yet to catch live, and both put on a fantastic show. Action Packed songs run the gamut from heartsick mope-alongs to whiskey-fueled rave-ups, and the band - possibly one of the most unassuming and "normal" looking outfits around - gave themselves fully to the requisite range of emotions and sounds. In addition to sharing a bassist with Achille Lauro, Action Packed also shares that remarkable band's commitment to highly proficient musicianship and passionate performance. I truly can't wait for my next chance to catch these gentleman. They've got a ton of shows coming up (check Myspace for dates and venues), including one on the 27th at the 3 Kings Tavern.

The Magic Mice also wowed me. Channeling '90s alt-rock and the '70s classic rock that informed it, these three boys and one girl (Q: When there's just one woman in a rock band, what instrument does she usually play? Yep. You're right.) transported me to my days of spinning seven-inch indie rock on my college radio station. There's an element of nostalgia to the Mice aesthetic, but it worked for me. Though neither Tyler Wilcox nor Aaron Betcher has the greatest rock vocals, their styles suited the slacker vibe, recalling the sincere-yet-sloppy singing of Yo La Tengo, Pavement and, of course, Guided By Voices. On more than one occasion, Betcher's smoldering guitar work knocked my jaw to the ground, while his former O'er the Ramparts colleague, Chad Peterson, kept the rhythm tight and the groove loose from his throne behind the kit. I'm looking forward to hearing a full-length from these folks before the year is over. They've got two shows coming up in March. Visit their Myspace profile for details.

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