The nightly rain of the past month in Denver spared the Violent Femmes at Red Rocks. When Colin Hay opened the show, there was a sprinkling, but it went away quickly and a patchwork of clouds in the sky that promised a potential downpour that never really arrived.
As evening sunlight passed into evening darkness, Violent Femmes performed a relatively short set of its most popular songs including “Gone Daddy Gone,” “American Music,” “Blister In the Sun,” “Hallowed Ground,” “Freak Magnet” and, as a closer, “Add It Up.” Although the group is thirty-five years old this year, the performance felt fresh and lively in a way a band playing with other older artists often doesn't. Sure, the Femmes treated us to a track or two from the 2015 EP Happy New Year but none of it felt like a nostalgia trip because the band was as just slightly off the cuff as usual.
With numerous guest musicians throughout the set, the most dramatic increase came when the Femmes were about to perform “Black Girls” and a full contingent of Horns of Dilemma strolled
At the end of the song, Brian Ritchie graciously thanked everyone in the Horns of Dilemma without missing a beat even if he may have read the names off of a note. Gordon Gano then talked about how many of the members of Horns of Dilemma this night were in a band called Animal / object and how he enjoyed playing with the group from time to time, but more that everyone should check the project out. None of this was
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Bias: Violent Femmes was one of those bands that in my late teens and early 20s everyone seemed to know about and love despite how strange the music could be because it was also incredibly catchy and accessible.
Random Detail: There's a good chance that most of the people that showed up were there to check out Barenaked Ladies but got the bonus of getting to see Animal / object play with Violent Femmes not to mention seeing members of
By the Way: Check out all official Animal / object releases on the
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If you'd like to contact me, Tom Murphy, on Twitter, my handle is @simianthinker.