Concert Reviews

Turbonegro at the Ogden Theatre, 5/20/13

TURBONEGRO @ OGDEN THEATRE | 5/20/13 The familiar feedback leading to the down-strumming guitar intro of "Get It On" drew people to come from the upper areas of the Ogden to join in the pit down front last night. Turbonegro's new lead singer Tony Sylvester, dressed up like some bizarre mix of cop, soldier and S&M fetishist, brought a rougher edge to the band's familiar vocals, and his bombastic stage personality and seeming inability to be embarrassed captured the audience during a fairly straightforward rock and roll show. Fans knew the songs and sang along as though each one was a chant they'd known their whole lives. The sense of excitement was palpable.

See also: - Tony Sylvester of Turbonegro talks about the exotic appeal of American hardcore - The ten best concerts to see in Denver this week - Review + photos: Imagine Dragons at Red Rocks, 5/16/13

Before Turbo took the stage, some kind of classical music played while the band strode on and went right into Ass Cobra's "Just Flesh." Although there weren't too many theatrical stunts involved during the night beyond the stage personas and Sylvester's dramatic (but never overblown) gestures, the multi-colored lights and a backdrop from the cover of Sexual Harassment, composed of day-glo colors, gave the set a sense of heightened reality.

Before each song, Sylvester told kind of funny stories that alluded to the lyrics at first...and all but named them in the end. But the best moments came when Happy-Tom just said crazy things that was obviously intended to be incredibly absurd and not to be taken seriously by anyone with a functioning brain. Before "Dude Without a Face," for example, when Sylvester waxed poetic about what the song was about, Tom just spouted off something about the Zionist Occupation Government in a silly voice. And he wasn't done there: Tom brought up ZOG later in an even more ridiculous context, while riffing off Sylvester in case anyone mistook him for the real white supremacist type.

For "We're Gonna Drop the Atom Bomb," Sylvester changed the city name from Oslo to Denver, as he probably does with every show to make a regional reference. The set proper ended with "Prince of the Rodeo," and the audience didn't wait too long before the band came back up for a rousing "The Age of Pamparius," with its nearly surrealistic lyrics. Nick Oliveri from Dwarves came back up for "Back to Dungaree High," and he and Sylvester expertly played off each other's vocals. During "Turbonegro Must Be Destroyed," Sylvester shared one of the best jokes of the show when he introduced the band and said that in 1973, when Jimmy Page was recording some music in Los Angeles, probably music for the soundtrack of Deathwish or something, Elton John came into the studio, the two had sex, and five months later, guitarist Euroboy was born.

Continue reading for a Critic's Notebook and more on Turbonegro and the Dwarves.

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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.

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