Over the weekend: Acoustic Profanity at Bender's Tavern

Acoustic Profanity
Friday, January 8, 2010
Bender's Tavern Better than:
MTV Unplugged.

Acoustic Profanity was about what you'd expect from the name: Get a bunch of punks together and take them out of their element a little by handing them acoustic guitars and sitting them on some stools. Over the course of nearly five hours, ten acts from bands like Reno Divorce, King Rat, Boldtype, Red Stinger and Pitch Invasion delivered some short yet entertaining sets with the occasional cover tune scattered into the mix.

Early on in the night, three members of Grease Machine played to an audience sitting at chairs set up in front of the stage. They kicked out a set of mainly covers like Leadbelly's "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?," which Nirvana played on MTV Unplugged, Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," Black Flag's "Nervous Breakdown" and "I Saw Your Mommy," a Sucidal Tendencies cut, which featured some hilarious ad-libbing by frontman Mykel Martinez. The Machine also played an original tune about their drummer pooping all the time.

Pitch Invasion stuck to a short set of mainly originals including the catchy "Peeping Tom," with Jim Yelenick singing about a Colfax crack whore on "Three Fingers of Fun," as well as "15 Minutes of Fame" and "20 Years to Life." Since Yelenick does acoustic happy hour sets at Larimer Lounge every week, he's used to this kind of thing and is thus equally as entertaining in both acoustic and electric settings.

Although Boldtype singer Dyna Mike said they were a bit nervous about doing an acoustic set and they'd been drinking a lot, the three guys cranked out a decent set with some solid originals like "Three Cheers" and "Lights Out," which both featured some cool harmony work by Mike and the two guitarists.

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While a lot of the bands on the bill were essentially straight ahead punk acts, With Arms Raised, while still roots in punk roots, played some tunes that were a bit more intricate and progressive than the other acts. Playing one of their first shows, the guys did a rousing version of "Carriage," which was about a friend who had passed away that featured some great three-part harmonies. They closed their set with the edgy "Pyro," which will be on their forthcoming album.

Just before King Rat's set, frontman Luke Schmaltz joked how no one had mentioned Bon Jovi yet. Fortunately, this didn't inspire a rendition of "Wanted Dead or Alive." Instead, Schmaltz and company kicked out an energetic set of originals that included a great take on "Duct Tape." Schmaltz also noted that his parents, who were in the audience, helped to put on the show and dedicated a song to them saying, "If pops was a songwriter, this is what he'd say to my mom."

Love Me Destroyer's Scooter James and Sleeper Horse's Mike Herrera joined forces as a stripped down version of their six-piece group Tin Horn Prayer. The duo's set included a cover of Todd Snider's "Play a Train Song," as well some original country and folk tunes. The duo's set might have been less energetic than the full group's show opening for the Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band the following night at Larimer Lounge, but Scooter and Herrera were just as compelling on their own.

Reno Divorce, who just returned from a European tour, covered Woody Guthrie's "Jesse James" and Social Distortion's "Telling Them"  before digging into slow country tune followed by a few originals that recalled some of Social Distortion's later material. It seemed like they played a bit longer than the other acts, but a lot of the folks in the crowd, some of them wearing Reno Divorce jackets and shirts, were digging the set.

By the time Red Stinger got onstage, about half the room had cleared out, but it didn't stop the band from kicking out one of the most energetic sets of the night. The act's frontman was especially animated and seemed like he was having a tough time sitting on the stool.

CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: Although the sets were fairly short, ten acts might have a been a bit much. A few hours into it, things started to get a bit monotonous. Random Detail: I'd never seen tables and chairs set up for a Bender's show. By the Way: Reno Divorce opens for the Reverend Horton Heat Thursday, January 14 at the Ogden Theatre.

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