This Weekend: Side-Fi Noise, Dartanian, A Shoreline Dream and Peña @ Larimer Lounge

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Side-Fi Noise, Dartanian, A Shoreline Dream, Peña August 10, 2007 Larimer Lounge Better than: Spinal Tap opening for Sigur Ros

You just never know what you’re getting into at a local show, but Denver audiences are usually open to anything good. A Friday night show to kick off A Shoreline Dream’s tour reinforced that: Three bands played in support and none of them sounded anything like Shoreline, but the audience stuck out the duration and was enthusiastic throughout.

Side-Fi Noise started the night with a nice arty, instrumental no-wave rock thing. It was a little bit jazzy, a little bit funky, with Sonic Youth-sounding guitar and a very capable and polished rhythm section. The whole thing bopped along nicely, but the songs didn’t do much to differentiate themselves from each other.

Dartanian followed with a throwback to the heyday of ‘80s metal, spun out of equal parts reverence and humor. One guitarist sported faux-authentic metal garb (tight, leopard-spot pants; mullet wig; vest over a bare chest) while the rest of the band pulled authentic metal faces and poses even tough they looked like typical Denver indie-band dudes. Add that to some incredibly authentic sounding Iron Maiden-inspired riffs, garnish with a crazily enthusiastic audience and shake well for a fun, dumb time. A Shoreline Dream took over sometime after 11. Singer/guitarist Ryan Policky looked dapper in a tan suit, illuminated by a color-cycling floorlight. Policky is a magnetic, intense frontman and the band’s sound is simply incredible: liquid honey guitars swirling into pools of narcoticized bliss over rolling, thrumming rhythms while Policky’s voice cries anguish into an abyss of echo. It is, in a word, beautiful. The tunes aren’t bad by any means, but they aren’t quite at the level of the sound and performance. They tend to melt into one another, subsumed by the oceanic sound and difficult to distinguish or identify. There were exceptions, notably “Projections,” which broke the mold a bit with edgier guitars and a more driving beat. When the songs catch up with their potential, watch out.

Math rockers Pena wrapped up the night with some really tight, smart instrumental rock. They built solid, twisty grooves into pretty tunes and engaged the crowd in their complex, shifting sound. The style meshed well with Side-Fi Noise’s, but Pena’s songs were a little better. The two nicely sandwiched a diverse middle section with similar, but distinctive, takes on the brainy side of indie rock. – Cory Casciato

Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: I love the dream pop/shoegaze sound more than is strictly rational. Random Detail: The pit during Dartanian got a little out of hand. Just bang your heads, OK, guys? That way, you only injure yourself if you get overly enthusiastic. By the Way: A Shoreline Dream returns in September to wrap up the tour.

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