Friday, November 24, 2017

The Devil Makes Three and Scott H. Biram at the Ogden Theatre in Denver, CO on 11/19/17

The Devil Makes Three
The venue was extremely over sold by at least 100 tickets. The concertgoers who didn't arrive by the end of the opener struggled to find a spot to stand. The audience was spilling out into the lobby. The extremely drunk and/or high crowd was being pushed together tightly to make room for a few despite the fact that there were many. The only place with any room was by the stage. But standing near there exposed spectators to the dreaded moshers. During the second song an intoxicated thug threw his first punch. Welcome to the final night of The Devil Makes Three Fall Tour.

The Devil Makes Three
The crowd mainly wore flannel shirts and all sorts of hats (trucker hats, hipster hats, hippie hats, witch hats, and even a bear hat). They came to bare witness to the incredibly talented alt-country band The Devil Makes Three. The trio formed in Santa Cruz, California in 2002 despite the fact that they all grew up in the New England/Vermont area. Silver haired Pete Bernhard sang the majority of the songs while raven-haired stand up bass player Lucia Turino drove the rhythm. Guitar/banjo player Cooper McBean's scruffy beard made him look like someone who .... plays the banjo. McBean caused chaos every time he took the mic (it might be due to song choices like Gracefully Facedown). It did inspire the inebriated thug to push his next victim to the ground (and hard). Security was nowhere to be found.

Pete Bernhard - All Photos by
The Rock and Roll Princess
For this tour, the band added a fiddle player and drummer for a fuller sound (I guess the devil makes five as well).  Cover songs such as Robert Johnson's Drunken Hearted Man and Ralph Stanley's I am the Man Thomas were given amazing The Devil Makes Three transformations. But original songs such as Spinning Like a Top, Old Number Seven (as in Jack Daniel's Whiskey), and Worse or Wrong had the audience shouting-a-long to the lyrics. This resulted in the drunken thug choking a woman that dared cross his path. Two guys in the mosh pit freed the petrified victim from his grip. Security must have been too busy to notice.

The Devil Makes Three closed with Do Wrong Right singing, "Well most things that I know, I didn't learn in class/The road don't go forever, so ride it while it lasts/If you're gonna raise a ruckus, one word of advice/If you're gonna do wrong buddy do wrong right."  At this point, the thug was surround by the good citizens of the mosh pit preventing him from doing any further wrong (right or wrong) that night.

Scott H. Biram
Scott H. Biram usually plays at Three Kings Tavern, a much smaller venue, when he appears in Denver. On Saturday and Sunday, Biram performed at the larger Ogden Theatre as part of The Devil Makes Three tour.  Scott H. Biram grew up in a small town in Texas not far from Austin. He was exposed to roots music while earning a degree in fine arts at Southwest State University. Armed with tons of guitars and a stool, Briam preached and hollered about hard living. He unapologetically told the crowd he was going to play the same set list as the previous night.  Before playing the emotional Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue, Biram recalled telling his mother that the song was going to be a hit. He closed by shouting, "Now go buy some of my sh*t." At this point of the evening, the evil monster had yet surfaced.

See you at the next show.  I'll be the one wondering what do wrong right even means.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Cindy Wilson, Olivia Jean, and Battle Pussy at the Marquis Theater in Denver, CO on 11/16/17

Olivia Jean and Cindy Wilson
Strong women ruled at the Marquis Theater on Thursday night. Their powerful musical abilities and unique fashion styles were on full display. The crowd was small, but mighty as they soaked in the punk, rock, and pop sounds of the evening.  It was very clear who in the crowd showed up for what act.  The older patrons were there to see an icon of the ultimate party band The B-52's Cindy Wilson.  Younger mostly bearded guys attended to see Third Man Records phenomenon Olivia Jean. The others showed up to participate in the shenanigans of local political punk rock trio Battle Pussy.

Battle Pussy - All photos by
The Rock and Roll Princess
The show started before the doors opened when Battle Pussy ran through the entrance and high-fived everyone in the line waiting to get into the venue. When the real show eventually started, gladiator helmet wearing Suzanne Slade lead the trio through songs titled Tweety Tweet, You're Fired, and No Trump. I got a strong sense these songs were not endorsed by the MAGA community. Two male dancers joined them on stage to add to the spectacle. The chorus boys stripped down to their underwear and proceeded a get audience members to jump rope while the band rapped Betty The Beat. The timely Standing Rock Tribe song Water Is Life was played with distain after Slade announced the news about the recent Keystone Pipeline leak in South Dakota. Battle Pussy ended their set with Revolution getting the audience to shout, "Fight, Fight, Fight" ensuring the band and the concert goers will not be on the White House Christmas card list anytime soon.

Olivia Jean
Third Man Records has been utilizing Olivia Jean's talents for a number of years. She led the all girl gothic garage group The Black Belles, played with Wanda Jackson, Karen Elson, and even Jack White (my lord and savior). Now she is a solo artist supporting Cindy Wilson's fall tour. She wore a 1960's inspired red floral dress with black boots and a hairstyle reminiscence of the style of The B-52's.  Olivia Jean sang a number of songs from her Black Belles catalog such as Howl at the Moon, Not Tonight, and In a Cage. The songs blended nicely with her material from her 2014 solo album Bathtub Love Killings.  Reminisce was one of the highlights with the dark lyrics, "Bye, now. You'd think she'd figure it out/Grab her wrist, and twist and shout/'Cause you can't find the reason why/These tears are falling from her eyes." Olivia Jean was thrilled to play her new song Garage Bat giving fans hope for a new album.  Cindy Wilson joined the band for the final number The B-52's Hero Worship that got the crowd dancing with more joy than Battle Pussy's backup dancers.

Cindy Wilson
Cindy Wilson is a member of the influential New Wave band The B-52's.  Free from the beehives and outrageous outfits of The B-52's, Wilson appeared with short gray hair and a understated black ensemble wearing dark sunglasses. Her songs from her forth-coming debut solo album Changes were inspired by her collaboration with fellow Athens, Georgia musician Ryan Monahan. The heavy electronica music had a dream like quality while multimedia imagery was displayed throughout the performance. Instead of screaming, "Tin Roof Rusted" from The B-52's The Love Shack days. Wilson toned down her legendary vocals to a refrained whisper while swaying to the music. In turn, her band brought high energy and passion throughout the performance.

See you at the next show.  I'll be the one jumping rope in my 1960's inspired outfit.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Diarrhea Planet, The Beeves, and Professor Plumb at the Marquis Theater in Denver, CO on 11/5/17.

Diarrhea Planet
The guitar is a vital instrument in rock and roll. Two guitars in a band are great. Three guitars in a band can be even better. But four guitars in a band are ridiculous. But Diarrhea Planet proved on a dark Sunday night at the Marquis Theater that four guitar shredders in a band could be glorious.  The six-piece (four guitar players, a bass player, and a drummer) from Nashville with a joke for a name channeled their talents and endless energy into controlled chaos. Diarrhea Planet had the audience smiling, dancing, and wanting more diarrhea .... Diarrhea Planet that is.

Diarrhea Planet
Diarrhea Planet formed in a cafeteria at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Starting out as a loud party band with a sh*tty name, the group begun to thrive in Nashville's underground community.  With guitar god riffs and undeniable chemistry, Diarrhea Planet started to get noticed for more than their offensive name. The band recorded four albums and has toured relentlessly. They even got credibility from the music industry when legendary Nashville engineer Vance Powell who has worked with Jack White (my lord and savior), Chris Stapleton, and The Revivalists engineered their latest album.

The fun sprit of the group emerged during their sound check. Emmett Miller, the group's only classically trained guitarist, sang Otis Day and The Nights' Shout to test his levels. After the first round of fast paced guitar driven goodness, Evan Bird, another axe man, checked in with the crowd.  He asked if anyone played the guitar. After a brief pause, Bird responded, "Me too."  Jordan Smith (another six string bender) and Brent Toler (yet another plank spanker) performed synchronized guitar moves while Even Bird wondered through the audience on a mission to rock.  Bird jumped back on stage to ask if anyone in the crowd played the drums.  After some rumblings, Bird replied, "Me too."  Different playing styles and vast vocal ranges made the audience strain to see who was singing or igniting a guitar firestorm.  Near the end of the set Bird asked if anyone sang. After a brief moment, he shouted, "Come on, everybody sings!"  That's when Diarrhea Planet ended the show with a sing-along to Tears for Fears' Everybody Wants to Rule the World... or should it be Everybody Wants to Rule a Diarrhea Planet? Probably not.

The Beeves
When I noticed the home made banner for The Beeves being hung up with duct tape, I expected to see the second band on the bill to be dressed as beavers. Instead brothers Ian and Will Erhart and Mathew Sease took the stage without animal attire. They played Jamie's Revenge a song about bullying and retaliation that got the crowd's attention. Sease came out to the middle of the crowd and sat down to play while young fans danced in a circle around him. It was like a heavy metal version of Duck, Duck, Goose.  All three members sang Eddie Cochran's Something' Else without really knowing the words. After the song ended, Ian Erhart told the crowd, It's alright since its rock and roll." They were just three guitar players short of being glorious like Diarrhea Planet.

Professor Plumb
Professor Plumb, lead by CU Denver music professor Benon Plumb, started the night off strongly with songs about constellations, distant planets, and Russians.  Ironically, Professor Plumb who has two bass players covered The DoorsFive to One who didn't even have a bass player.  They were also just three guitar players short of being glorious like Diarrhea Planet.

See you at the next show.  I'll be the one asking the band if they are considering adding more guitars.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Haley Reinhart and Pross at the Bluebird Theater in Denver, CO on 11-02-17

Haley Reinhart and her band
I first noticed singing sensation Haley Reinhart on YouTube performing a New Orleans jazz version of The White Stripes' Seven Nation Army. It was part of a music collective named Postmodern Jukebox that transforms modern songs into vintage musical genres. The concept became so popular the artists involved started touring the world. Since the group has over 70 singers rotating in and out of the show, Reinhart was unfortunately not performing the two times I attended the tour.  Thursday night I finally saw her headlining her own show supporting her 1960's inspired album What's That Sound?

Haley Reinhart singing White Rabbit in bunny ears
Haley Reinhart started performing at an early age singing in her parents' Illinois rock and roll cover band. When she was twenty-years-old, Reinhart got national attention by taking third place on season 10 of American Idol. Three albums and several globetrotting tours later Reinhart built a devoted following. Thursday's crowd was a mixture of teenage girls and their parents, Postmodern Jukebox fans wearing vintage clothing (the woman in front of me was wearing a fox stole), and middle age men making the devil horns hand gesture at the end of every song (I am still confused by this behavior). Her drummer Ray Moore did triple duty by keeping the beat, singing, and announcing Haley Reinhart to the stage.  She came out wearing a 1960's retro ensemble singing the upbeat title song from her second album Better. Reinhart followed with a number of cover songs from her latest album.  Highlights include Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit (while wearing bunny ears), Blind Faith's Can't Find My Way Home, and The Shirelle's Baby It's You. My favorite was The Kinks' Sunny Afternoon that showcased Reinhart's Betty Boop like jazz scatting.

Haley Reinhart - all photos by
The Rock and Roll Princess
She performed Elvis Presley's Can't Help Falling in Love that was featured in a Wrigley's Extra Gum commercial/film/love story (whatever you call it).  She claimed to receive a lifetime supply of chewing gum for the gig. After performing her original funk song My Cake allowing each band member to take a solo, Reinhart went backstage to prepare for the encore. She came back wearing white go-go boots and a flowing translucent flock looking like something Cher in 1966 would wear.  Reinhart put her boots to work by singing Nancy Sinatra's These Boots are Made for Walking complete with Sinatra's famous dance moves.  Next was her jazz version of Radiohead's Creep from her Postmodern Jukebox material. The hair on the back of my neck stood up after she hit some amazing glass shattering high notes. The show ended with Let's Start (an original song from her latest album). The tune stayed in the 1960's vibe with lots of "bay, ba ba ba bay" sung between versus.  It made the audience feel like they were walking out of a television episode of Love American Style.

The opener started with a laptop playing electronic dance music to warm up the crowd.  The DJ fine-tuned the sounds while the lights changed with the beats.  Pross A.K.A. Matt Prosser from Denver, Colorado quickly took the stage to sing his style of pop music including the songs Don't Be Mad and Wristband.  Pross stated he first performed at the Bluebird Theater ten years ago when he was just fifteen-years-old.

See you at the next show. I'll be the one wearing bunny ears reminiscing about Love American Style.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Bob Schneider and Ryan Hamilton at the Bluebird Theater on 10/21/17

Bob Schneider and the band
Sing-alongs about tarantulas, a multi-instrumentalist robot dancer, and a silly rap song about pants created a party atmosphere at the sold out Bob Schneider show. Along with his talented band, Schneider sailed through American Roots, Latin, Rock, and Hip Hop genres. He sang a heartbreaking love song one minute and switched to a Mambo the next.

Bob Schneider - All photos by the
Rock and Roll Princess
Bob Schneider was born in Michigan, grew up in Germany, and became a musician in Austin, Texas.  He became the lead singer of The Ugly Americans in the early 1990's. I saw his entertaining funk band perform at Herman's Hideaway in Denver, Colorado when their song Vulcan Death Grip was being over played on the radio. They grew in popularity and opened for The Dave Mathews Band and Big Head Todd and the Monsters. After a few years, Bob Schneider started his solo career and grew a beard (not necessarily in that order). Schneider's live performances have given him an extremely loyal fan base. If you see him live once, you will bring a friend or two with you the next time.

Saturday night Bob Schneider got the audience in a festive mood by singing I Went to a Party. The song name checks the famous guests in attendance including the cast of Pitch Perfect II and Morgan Freeman (to name only a few). Schneider confessed at the end of the song that he never met any of those people. The song was inspired by the time he encountered the actress who portrays Flo from the Progressive Insurance commercials (she was strangely not mentioned in the song). Next he played the Mambo inspired Bombananza signaling keyboardist Oliver Steck dressed in coveralls and safety goggles to switch to the trumpet.

Oliver Steck
Steck stole the show throughout the evening. When the band started to play songs without keyboards, he danced like a robot. One of the silliest songs of the night (and the set list had plenty of them) was Pants. It was co-written with Schneider's twelve year-old-son Luc. The rap describes all the activities everybody does while wearing pants singing, "I got my pants onI got my pants on. I got my pants on." During the song, Oliver Steck used a plastic beer cup to put an echo effect on his back up vocals.  When Schneider played the emotional ballad King Kong, Oliver Steck stood like a statue by his keyboard. A loud drunk woman with an ashtray voice disturbed the crowd, but Steck never moved an inch. During the audience participation song Tarantula (I think the song is more about sex than an eight-legged creature), Oliver Steck once again picked up the trumpet.  Steck persuaded the opener Ryan Hamilton to blow in the trumpet while he worked the valves. Bob Schneider ended the night with a lengthy description of a moonbeam as an introduction to 40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet) -"Sometimes you remind me of a moonbeam/Or the ghost of a moonbeam out on the beach/Down by the coast slipping' through the air like/The most beautiful thing I've ever seen." During the song, Steck played the keyboard like a robot and sang back up without the plastic cup.

Ryan Hamilton and his cousin Hunter
The opener Ryan Hamilton's band The Traitors had immigration issues preventing them from leaving the United Kingdom for the tour. Since they were stuck across the pond, Hamilton recruited his cousin Hunter Cannon to play the drums. Hamilton wore bellbottom jeans, a Keith Richardson t-shirt, and showed off a Bob Dylan tattoo that his wife thinks looks more like Michael Cera (the guy from the movie Juno). Although his cleverly worded songs were hard to hear due to sound issues, Hamilton played a heartfelt set of alternative rock goodness. There were no noise troubles during his cover of Tom Petty's Listen to Her Heart. Since Hamilton mentions Petty in a few of his songs, the tribute to the recently departed artist was truly genuine.  Hamilton ended with Smarter. It will be the first single off his new album The Devil's in the Details. He told the crowd, "When you hear the song on the radio, you will remember it was that guy with no band."

See you at the next show.  I'll be the one wearing coveralls with safety goggles hanging out with cousin Hunter.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Michael Franti & Spearhead, G. Love with The North Mississippi AllStars, and Wildermiss at Breckenridge Brewery in Littleton, CO on 10/8/17

Michael Franti & Spearhead
Michael Franti & Spearhead, G. Love, The North Mississippi AllStars, and Wildermiss held a hurricane relief concert for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The bands delivered a much-needed musical reprieve from the news of shootings, politics, and natural disasters. It was a celebration of life and a perfect way to end summer.

Michael Franti - All photos by
The Rock and Roll Princess
Breckenridge Brewery played disco music to warm up the audience for Michael Franti & Spearhead. The sold out crowd started dancing and indulging in the brewery's offerings. The barefoot musical giant (he's 6 feet 6 inches) continued the celebration singing about inspiration, love, and tequila. During the span of the concert, Franti had the crowd put their arms around each other, Do Si Do, and jump (lots of jumping) in a party version of Simon Says. Beach balls were tossed around during Summertime is in My Hands as the sun beat down upon the masses. There was a runway leading to a smaller stage in the middle of the venue. Franti used it to break through the crowd while high-fiving everyone nearby. When he got to the second stage, Franti pulled up fans to dance with him. A woman celebrating her fiftieth birthday enjoyed the experience a little too much and kissed him directly on the lips. Before Franti left the secondary stage, he sang My Lord - "My Lord, my Lord, My Lord/Show me all the things I need to know/My Lord, my Lord, My Lord/Take me to the place I need to go." He instructed the crowd to jump up and down once again as he made his way back to the main stage.

Michael Franti
With a message of peace and positivity, Michael Franti expressed "It's the little things that count. That extra smile, the extra hug, that extra song you sing to somebody.... These things count more than ever. These days when things are so hard for so many people, it means more and more each day that each of us take the time to go out of (our) way to make somebody else feel significant (for) just a little bit." That's when he went out into the crowd to perform We Are All Earthlings and instructed the crowd to take off their hats and wave them around during the crescendo of the song.  Extending the harmonious vibe, Franti sang I'm Alive (Life Sounds Like). The crowd sang along to the chorus repeating, "I'm Alive, I'm Alive, I'm Alive" while ... jumping up and down. The show ended with the band, the stagehands, and the security team joining together to sing John Lennon's Imagine. Instead of just leaving the stage, the entire band went into the audience and hugged people by the front of the stage (I helped spread the love by hugging Carl Young the bass player and Jay Bowman the guitar player). Michael Franti went into the audience as well. He listened to fans' stories of how his music inspired them and took selfies to the delight of everyone around him.

G. Love and The North Mississippi Allstars
The day before the benefit The North Mississippi AllStars were at Breckenridge Brewery (same venue) opening up for Big Head Todd and the Monsters. The band consisting of brothers Luther Dickenson and Cody Dickenson with bass player Rob Walbourne stayed an extra day to join the benefit concert. G. Love was performing with his band Special Sauce at an October Festival in downtown Denver. He stayed an extra day to join The North Mississippi AllStars for a joyful set of music. It's not the first time they have collaborated. G. Love recruited Luther Dickenson to play on the track Just Fine for his 2010 Fixin' to Die album. They played that song which highlighted G. Love's rapping and Luther Dickenson's amazing guitar playing. G. Love's Cold Beverages had the Dickenson brothers smiling while the crowd held up their beers to sing along, "Strawberry daiquiris and a colada/I need a whole lotta them/Fruit drinks to catch me a buzz/I must tell you I'm the/Cool aid kid/Before you serve my drink/Please stick it in the fridge."

Denver's own Wildermiss started the hurricane relief concert off in the early afternoon before the crowd started to sunburn. They were all dressed in black jeans with white converse shoes. It was either their band uniform or the start of some kind of kooky cult. Joshua Hester's and Seth Beamer's guitars drove their pop rock sound. Drummer Caleb Thoemke kept the rhythm while singer Emma Cole channeled her inner Hayley Williams (the front woman from Paramore). Carry Your Heart got the audiences attention with its handclap chorus and shouts of "Hey, Hey, Hey."  Keep It Simple was the first track written by the band. The combination of guitar hooks and false endings created a memorable song. Wildermiss will be releasing their first EP later on in the month to expose their music to people outside of the confines of a brewery.

See you at the next show. I'll be the one hugging the band.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Big Head Todd and the Monsters, North Mississippi All Stars, and Anderson East at the Breckenridge Brewery in Littleton, CO on 10/7/19

Big Head Todd and the Monsters
Two days after I turned twenty-one-years-old, I saw Big Head Todd and the Monsters at a small Denver bar named Herman's Hideaway. I was drawn to their blues based sound with Stevie Ray Vaughan inspired guitar licks. The Colorado band's music became the sound track of my life when I transformed from a college student to a "responsible" adult. I have their 1991 album Midnight Radio etched in my brain. I can even be seen dancing ... badly in the audience in their 2008 concert video filmed at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Now they are about to release their latest studio album New World Arisin' and they have never sounded better.

Todd Park Mohr and his pants
On Saturday at Breckenridge BreweryBig Head Todd and the Monsters starting off strong with Sister Sweetly. Their live version has gotten much funkier over the years compared to their 1993 studio version from the platinum album of the same name. The fifty-one year old front man Todd Park Mohr appeared in white pants with a aqua-blue shirt. He's a rock star so he can break the no white pants after Labor Day fashion rule. Drummer Brian Nevin never missed a beat as the sun heated things up making his shirt soaked in sweat. Keyboardist and petal steel guitarist Jeremy Lawton got into the spirit of the venue by wearing a Breckenridge Brewery staff shirt. He played beautiful refrains and provided impressive backing vocals. Bass player Rob Squires smiled the entire time while producing bass lines that held the band together.  Todd Park Mohr channeled his inner Elvis during Rock Steady by shaking his hips (a little something for the ladies). Crowd favorites Bittersweet, Please Don't Tell Her, Moose Song, and Circle were played to the delight of their devoted fans. Returning for the encore, Todd Park Mohr took the stage alone to pay tribute to the recently departed Tom Petty by singing I Won't Back Down. An extremely inebriated woman in a Tom Petty shirt pushed her way through the crowd to show Todd Park Mohr her shirt. Security told the American Girl ... Don't Come Around Here No More and moved her Into the Great Wide Open. R.I.P. Tom Petty.

The North Mississippi Allstars
I thought I never saw Dickinson Brothers band The North Mississippi Allstars before Saturday. I didn't realize that I have previously seen the brothers perform in other bands. Luther Dickinson was once the lead guitarist in The Black Crowes. Both brothers were in the super group The Word led by Robert Randolph. Cody Dickinson gave a new definition for multi-instrumalist. He played the drums, keyboards, bass, and sang (sometimes at the same time).  Bass player Rob Walbourne snuck behind a drum kit when Cody Dickinson picked up his bass.  But Luther Dickinson was lazy and only played the guitar and sang (slacker). Many of the songs flowed together so nicely it was hard to realize when one song ended and another began. But Luther Dickinson gave the peace sign letting the audience know it officially ended.

Anderson East - All photos by The
Rock and Roll Princess
The day at the brewery started with soul singer Anderson East. I saw him last year open for Chris Stapleton. In that short period of time, he went from singing mostly cover songs to a set that was mainly his own material.  The opening song Quit You co-written by Stapleton won the crowd over immediately with his soulful voice backed by a powerful horn section.  One of the highlights was the ballad All I'll Ever Need - "You could steal the stars from heaven/And all the water from the deep blue seas/Oh, cause your love, your love, darling/It's all I'll ever need." As the sun got warmer, he took off his jacket to reveal a camouflage shirt.  I would like to describe more of East's performance, but since he was in camouflage he disappeared.

See you at the next show.  I'll be the one not wearing white pants after Labor Day.  I'm not Todd Park Mohr.  I can't get away with it.