TITWRENCH 2013 at GLOB | 9/6/13 As if embodying a bit of the spirit of the event, Dangerous Nonsense donned costumes that evoked Russian punk band Pussy Riot. And like the latter, the former outfit performs with an intensity that elevates what some might see as pure theatrics. But then you could hardly pick a better way to convey the meaning behind the band's words. It's interesting seeing a band like this performing like they're playing to a silent movie camera with exaggerated gestures executed perfectly.
From music theater melodicism to an aggressive death metal style, Shannon Weber doesn't hold back with her vocals or likewise with her body movement, which match every utterance. Harmony Star's bass goes from clipped yet sinuous bass rhythms that recall Crass to velvety, psychedelic tones processed in richly varied ways. The straight-ahead percussion of Sarah Miller's drumming was flavored with tasteful textural accents. The best song of the set was something new, a tune presumably called "Cat Killer," a haunting evocation of an abusive personality or that voice within abusing ourselves emotionally.
Earlier in the evening, Suzie Q. Smith did some spoken word that had some musical rhythm to it, even if it wasn't strictly musical in a traditional sense. As someone who's heard her share of the low-rent, covert racism over the years, Smith spoke eloquently to that racial tension, and she also spoke poetic truths about other aspects of the human condition.
Albuquerque experimental band Bigawatt was also one of the highlights of the evening, with Marisa Demarco on vocals, bass and various electronic devices, including a child's musical toy that created fascinatingly vibrant, melodic synth lines and a looper, while Cthulha played processed cello. The group began with a song that had a noisy, distorted vocal over flowing low end provided by the cello. It was processed through at least one delay, so that it felt like a continuous wave of bass tones.
For another number, Demarco sampled her voice and harmonized with herself. It was the sort of thing heard on Bigawatt's excellent 2012 album. The most surprising part came with the final piece, which DeMarco said was written for another band that hadn't played out yet. It was ambient in a way that recalled Windy & Carl using a bit more white noise, while the cello player trickled out rivulets of ethereal, high-register tones. Demarco, meanwhile, pulled cassette tape through a device that read it almost as elongated record scratching when hooked up.
Keep reading for more on night two of Titwrench 2013
Closing out the night was Fingers of the Sun. Piper Rose said that Marcus Renninger's outfit was essentially the synesthesic equivalent in look to the sound of the band. For his part, Renninger always seems to have a unique, psychedelic, but never gaudy, style. Crawford Philleo was on drums this time out, and while the band has clearly already changed a bit since debuting a few years back, that shift in sound was even more apparent with this set.
Rather than evoking the '60s, and having moved beyond the '70s in sound, Fingers of the Sun seems to be writing music that exists outside such obvious musical touchstones. Sure, the influences shaped some of how the band sounds -- and perhaps even thinks about music -- but these songs, for the most part, at least the newer material, are free of any obvious stylistic nods.
Rather, the group played a set of ambitious, psychedelic pop songs without the burden of debt to another era. Also, the full range of the band's sounds at hand could be heard distinctly, and there was even a song where Jamie Bryant shared lead vocal duties with Nathan Brasil. The Fingers have reached out yet again beyond its previous boundaries.
Personal Bias: I love all the artists on this bill. Random Detail: I ran into former Wicked Phoenix guitarist Maureen Herman, artist Alicia Ordahl, Warren Bedell of No Funeral, Eric Ten Hoeve of Quantum Creep and sleepdial's Luke Thinnes at the show. By the Way: The event is sliding scale $5-$25 (no one turned away), and Saturday night's festivities included great musical artists like Death In Space, Tara Rynders, Emily Frembgen, Milch De La Máquina, Lady Speech and Man Hands with visuals by Katrin Davis and Eileen Roscinca, and between band songs were provided by DJ Private Property.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.