Concert Reviews

Over the Weekend...Brian Howe, Matthew Orloff, Ivy, DJ Soup, Wesley Wayne and Michael Trundle @ Westword Music Showcase

The scene on Bar Standard's rooftop patio.

Westword Music Showcase Saturday, June 14, 2008 Bar Standard patio Better than: Most other reasons to stand in the sun all afternoon.

Bright afternoon sunshine and the accompanying blistering heat aren’t exactly the ideal setting for the art of the DJ. Not only are they more at home inside the cool, dark confines of a club, late at night, but the majority of folks that live for that kind of musical fix are still sleeping off last night’s festivities in the early afternoon. Given that, it was little surprise that the Westword DJ showcase on the Bar Standard patio was a little late getting started, and more than a little slow once it did start.

Brian Howe playing like a pro.

Due to the aforementioned proclivities of DJs and the people who love them, some last minute lineup juggling and a slew of minor technical problems, things kicked off about forty minutes late, when Brian Howe took the decks. His set remixed popular, well-known tunes by artist such as Led Zeppelin into banging electro club tunes. It was an interesting set, and a fairly accessible entry point for casual/novice dance fans, but basically no one saw it due to the early hour and punishing heat on the patio. Despite the non-audience and withering conditions, Howe played through like a pro. Some early hiccups and a few minor technical issues marred his performance, but overall he managed to put together an intriguing mix.

Matthew Orloff building up steam.

Matthew Orloff followed Howe with a set of funky, pumping progressive house. Despite seeming slightly incongruous at that hour of day, the set was thoroughly enjoyable and well-executed. By this time, the patio was starting to fill up a bit, although it remained well below anything that could be considered full, so Orloff had a decent-sized crowd by the end of his set. Near the end of his set he unleashed a novel, amusing remix of Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine” that would have fit well into Howe’s set, but the remainder of his set charted a straight course through more traditional straight-up progressive house.

Ivy getting the crowd going.

By the time Ivy took over, things were starting to cool off just a bit and the patio was filling up, both with dance music fans and with smokers delighted to find a place where they could sit, smoke, drink and be entertained simultaneously. Ivy was his usual impressive self, playing a mix of funky, deep and sexy house and breakbeat cuts. His set flew by – always a good sign – and before long he was cuing up his last cut and accepting some well-deserved accolades from the crowd.

DJ Soup stirring things up.

DJ Soup was next up. Utilizing just his laptop and a mixing controller plugged into it, he put together an innovative, fun and crowd-pleasing set of classic hip-hop and rock songs mashed up with funky breaks and electronic trimmings. By this time the crowd was starting to come alive and a few people were actually dancing, due to a fortuitous combination of intoxication, slackening heat and killer music.

Wesley Wayne ups the cool quotient.

After Soup, Wesley Wayne took over the decks. A series of technical issues delayed his start and interrupted the early parts of his set. Once he got rolling, he delivered a middling performance full of overly familiar material. It wasn’t bad, but after the top-notch sets of his predecessors it fell a little flat.

Michael Trundle digging deep.

Finally, Michael Trundle came in to close the evening out. Spinning his usual hipster-friendly retro/electro/indie vein, his set was well-received by the patio, which was now relatively full. Recognizing that he had a little more freedom to pull out the stops, he dug a little deeper in his crate than he might have done otherwise, pulling out several obscure yet easily recognized old “favorites,” such as Men at Work, over the course of the night. By the time he wrapped, it was just starting to be DJ standard time, and people seemed ready to really get the party started, but it was all over for the DJ stage.

Some scenes from the scene...

-- Cory Casciato

Critics Notebook Personal Bias: I’m a bit of a dance music snob, and I definitely prefer house to any of the more popular, mainstream DJ genres (R&B, indie/electro, etc.). Random Detail: The chaise lounges on the patio were quite comfy. By The Way: The Bar Standard patio is well worth a visit.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Dave Herrera
Contact: Dave Herrera