Concert Reviews

UMS Night Two Travelogue: A Tom Collins at Club 404, Nathan & Stephen at the Mayan and more

Page 3 of 3

How Bad Luck City is able to play with such power and intensity while being the most well-dressed band of the evening is a mystery. Dameon Merkl joked with the audience with a smooth, earthy yet articulate wit throughout the show, and for at least one song, it was hard to tell if he was making up the lyrics on the spot. There wasn't a dull moment in the set, as the band played old favorites, of course, like "The Girls of St. Magdalene's Parrish," and "Chop Tank."

The true standout of the evening, however, came when the band played "The Unclean Song," as Merkl explained, was for an unclean place where we could get unclean with each other. The build-up on that song is among Bad Luck's best for a band who are masters of heightening sonic and emotional tension within a song. The whole thing ended with "The Blood Trail of McCulloch Gulch." Josh Perry's guitar solo toward the middle end of the song is still one of the most haunting riffs of the last ten years.

A place called the Import Warehouse was the site of the James Pants show. It seemed like his show attracted a pretty broad cross-section of people at the festival even if many of them didn't stick around for the full fifty or so minutes of the set. Pants is kind of a rebel master of mixology. His own music is a unique mixture of hip-hop, dub and ambient. But for most of this performance, he mixed in samples of songs he didn't write, along with some scratching on the turntables.

Somewhere in there, it sounded like he found a way to mix in Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Jefferson Airplane, Kraftwerk, the Doors, M83 and the Stooges, among others. Pants also triggered a cover of "Lovebuzz" with a female singer sampled doing the vocals disco style with Pants filling in where necessary. Because of his creative use of samples and blending together connected musical themes, Pants schooled us on how to a DJ gig for real and not fake it.

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.