Concert Reviews

Titwrench 2010 at Glob

Page 2 of 3

Friday, July 9, 2010 Julie Slater, sister of Titwrench founder Sarah Slater, opened the festivities with a reading of Robin Morgan's 1962 poem, "Dance of the Seven Veils." Slater then treated us to some violin improv that sounded like something out of a Philip Glass composition for an Errol Morris documentary. Even though Slater was the first performer, there was already an impressive number of people in attendance and that only grew as the night went on.

Concrete Shiva from Long Beach made ghostly, echoing drones that sounded like some futuristic, Japanese classical music. Part way through her set, she executed tape samples and manipulated them to sound like a nearby ocean. High pitched atmospheric noises cycled with lower toned textures gave the continued watery sound direction like a river.

By the time Lust-Cats of the Gutters got set up, Glob was near capacity. Opening with an early number rarely played these days, "Love Song," the Lust-Cats tore into their material with joyful glee, Alex Edgeworth's make-up making her look a bit like an evil Raggedy Ann. During the cover of Hole's "Violet," even more of the audience, which had already been singing along during the set, joined in on the choruses. A surprising number of people also seemed to know the lyrics to the always hilarious yet intense, "Housewife With a Loose Grip on Reality."

A bracing drone served as the introduction to Night of Joy's performance before the trio kicked into "Concrete Jungle." The song "Vein Popper Brain Ripper" was especially exhilarating, as Bree Davies and Fez Guzman anchored Val Franz's sharp, angular guitar work that seemingly wanted to escape from her control. For "Do You Love Me Now?" by the Breeders, a sizeable portion of the audience seemed to know the words and joined in with the same high spirits displayed by the band. Pylon-esque in its melodic ferocity and Gang of Four-like in its embrace of flowing rhythms coupled with jagged atmospheres, Night of Joy was a good follow-up to the high-energy Lust-Cats.

The abrasive textures of Hell-Kite matched its slashing, hammering dynamics. The Tempe band's drummer, like Mo Tucker, stood up as he played and laid down a forceful rhythm. The singer/guitarist, Anne Marie Phillipp, gestured wildly over the course of the set and otherwise engaged in co-crafting gritty atmospheric passages to go along with her arch vocalizations. With the full band, Phillipp is able to make her songs blast with the proper power inherent in their composition.

For a two-piece, Bury My Bones from Denver sure created quite a racket -- a swirly, warmly melodic racket. Diana Sperstad's strong guitar work was part bombastic and part delicately ethereal, while her vocals were tender and vulnerable. Fez Guzman's drumming accented the outer edges of the quiet sections and drove straight through when Sperstad escalated the volume and intensity of her riffing. Some people would probably call this music shoegaze, but it seemed more ground in latter day indie rock with traces of a desert-y sound. After the set, some people remarked, with surprise, at Sperstad's guitar skills. And, indeed, the looping pedal was an ally in making spacious, expansive soundscapes.

Hot White was back to form with what was probably the most frenzied, chaotic show at Glob since, well, Monotonix anyway. Playing a mixture of newer and older material, the trio was slightly loose but that only made them compensate for this with a freer performance including a rendition of a Moss Icon song with Aaron Miller on vocals. The minute Miller roared into the microphone, some of the lumpenproletariat in the audience decided it was time to get violent, though not intending to hurt anyway. However, Tiana Bernard engaged one or several of them directly and later on, Kevin Wesley walked into the fray and held people at bay with his guitar. A little off the hook but Hot White seems to have that effect on people with its frenzied noise rock.

With only a drum set, her powerful voice and boundless energy, Christina the Hun from Fort Collins made it seem like it was impossible for something so fully-realized to be composed of such sparse elements. The Hun used every part of the drum to make her sounds and her alternating rhythms were a product of her playing off her own central beat. It's hard to say if she's ambidextrous but with one hand, she played with two drum sticks to strike the tom and a mallet to strike the snare while maintaining a strong kick beat while spouting off a string of lyrics. It would be difficult to compare The Hun to anyone because while her music sounds like it could be born of punk rock and its kin, her instrumentation is completely original.

The first night of Titwrench ended with Snake Rattle Rattle Snake. Likely people who only really make it to DIY venue shows have never seen this band live. Some may even mistakenly think the band "rock stars" or something similarly ignorant. When the fact is, it's still an underground band with members whose roots go back beyond playing even bars. Nonetheless, the measure of a band is its music and this sextet performed better than ever. For the first time in a long time, Wilson Helmericks' fantastic synth lines were strong in the mix of sounds. Especially effective was some of the newer material and the sinister, haunting, "Sin Eater." Most of the crowd seemed to have made it to the end of Snake's set and thus the first night of Titwrench was an unequivocal success.

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.
Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.