The best new band in town at the best new bar in town. That's a bold statement, but it's that statement that lingered as Miss America by Wheary, a new project featuring Joseph Pope III, Julie Davis, Nathaniel Rateliff, James Han and Patrick Meese finished its set at Syntax Physic Opera.
Syntax Physic Opera, which opened over the summer, with its speakeasy vibe, is an ideal place to drink an Old-Fashioned by candlelight and listen to live music. At least in this arrangement, certain music works better; punk or blaring electronica might require a different ambience. But Miss America, with Pope delicately hitting piano keys and crooning into the mic, seemed right at home.
This band's music is the kind that slowly builds, seeping into your body and soul as the minutes pass, and that's exactly what happened Friday night to those watching. By the end of the first song, the patrons of Syntax had gone from being absorbed in their own conversations and cocktails to enraptured and immersed by the pensive sounds echoing from the stage. Every person at every table found him or herself hushed and intently staring at Miss America, and even the majority of the people in the front room had quickly migrated to directly in front of Pope in both curiosity and awe.
Miss America might not be the best band in town right now, but for a supergroup that just has one EP and a few months of playing under their belt, it has the potential to make a lasting impact. The music is thoughtful, the lyrics personal. And as the individual guitar notes of "Justice" reverberated through the bar and Pope sang in a voice that was barely more than a whisper, it felt as if every one and every noise slowly melted away until it was just you and him, deep in conversation about those little moments that end up defining a life.
This band will certainly sound amazing in whatever Denver venue it happens to visit next; it's a group made up of tested musicians, and that breadth of experience comes through in every note. But in Syntax, a bar that feels very personal -- the kind of place where serious, hushed conversations would happen in dark corners and deep moments between strangers could happen at the long antique bar -- it all aligned to a moment of perfection. It's the kind of bar where you feel something entirely special or magical could happen at any moment. So yes, for just that brief 45 minutes close to midnight Friday night, everyone at Syntax Physic Opera witnessed the best new band in town play the best new bar in town.