Saturday, February 24, 2018

Margo Price and Particle Kid at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, CO on 2/20/18

Margo Price
A few years ago Margo Price and her boyfriend (now husband) Jeremy Ivey found themselves living in Colorado in a tent performing for spare change on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall.  She now lives in Nashville (assuming not in a tent) as a successful musician.  She has performed with her idols Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, and Willie Nelson. Price even played with my Lord and Savior Jack White (she is on his Thirdman Records label). Her Nowhere Fast tour is currently traveling the world supporting her second album American Made.

Margo Price - All photos by
The Rock and Roll Princess
The show at the Fox Theatre was sold out despite it being on a cold snowy Tuesday night. Before the performance began, a roadie placed burning incense on the stage.  The smoke lofted over the crowd (the smell is still in my clothes). Price came out wearing a fringe jacket, bellbottoms with rose embroidered patches, and a big floppy brown hat (I almost wore the same exact outfit).  Her mustached bass player Kevin Black held up the band's country music reputation by donning a black cowboy hat.

A large majority of the set list were songs from her new album.  They were political (Pay Gap, Heart of America), philosophical (A Little Pain, Loner), and confessional (Wild Women, Weakness). The few songs performed from her debut album were reworked from their original version such as the haunting Four Years of Chances.

Margo Price
Margo Price played shakers, tambourine, guitar, keyboards, and drums throughout the night.  Many singers just stand awkwardly while each member solos.  Not Price.  She played a small drum kit right next to Dillion Napler's normal size drums.  Price banged along with the band with a giant smile.  One of the most impressive moments of the night was the song All American Made.  The band left the stage leaving Price behind the keyboards. Gut wrenching lyrics poured out, "All the Midwest farms are tuning into plastic homes/And my uncle started drinking when the bank denied the loan/But now it's liver failure and his mad cows being cloned."  The band came back to play her signature song Hurtin' on a Bottle combined with Willie Nelson's Whiskey River.  The show ended with Credence Clear Water Revival's Proud Mary (Ike and Tina Turner's version). She pranced around the stage and encouraged the crowd to sing along.  The Retro-Country artist transform into a Rock and Roll powerhouse.   

The Particle Kid
Particle Kid opened up the show.  I discovered a few things during his set:

  • Particle Kid is not a kid or particles, but a twenty-seven year old man.  
  • He had chess pieces on his socks (one had a hole in the toe)
  • His real name is Micah Nelson. 
  • He is Willie Nelson's son. 
Nelson shared his concern about sneezing outside in the cold.  "Frozen boogers might become destructive missiles."  Being from California, he was excited to be experiencing inclement weather (he got to wear a stocking hat).  His set consisted of steam-of-consciousness songs about Hollywood, the ocean, and how the reality of the world is out of control. Nelson used looping and foot petal effects to create a fuller sound.  The Particle Kid came back during Price's set to sing the duet Learning to Lose. His father sung with Price on the original recording.  The Particle Kid captured the tone of Willie Nelson perfectly while guitarist Jamie Davis recreated Willie Nelson's playing (it was like Willie and his legendary old beat up guitar Trigger were there).

See you at the next show.  I'll be the one in the fringe jacket lighting incense on stage.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Killers, Albert Hammond Jr., and Amanda Brown at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, CO on 2/5/18

The Killers
The flu was slowly working its way through members of The Killers crew for weeks during their Wonderful Wonderful Tour.  The morning of the 1st Bank Center performance, front man Brandon Flowers awoke with the sickness.  The audience was surprised when he confessed he was under the weather in the middle of the show.  Flowers sang, danced, and occasionally played the bass and keyboards while channeling Tom Jones, Elvis Presley, and Bruce Springsteen. I can't form complete sentences when I am sick never mind performing a high production rock show.  And it was a SHOW with incredible video images that appeared to be popping out of the screen, lights probably stolen from an alien spaceship, confetti cannons that covered the entire arena with …. confetti, and sexy scantily clad background singers.

Brandon Flowers
Brandon Flowers is the youngest of six children raised in a Mormon family. After moving to Las Vegas in his teens, he became involved in the local music scene.  Two years after graduating from high school, Flowers formed The Killers.  A few years later they were headlining Madison Square Garden and Wembley Stadium.  Drummer Ronnie Vannucci, Jr. and Brandon Flowers are the only official members in The Killers currently performing.  Bassist Mark Stoermer and guitarist Dave Kenuing are still in the band, but decided not to tour (bassist Jake Blanton and guitarist Ted Sablay replaced them).  Three background singers and two other additional musicians complete the current touring line up.   Despite the band member shuffle, fans were there to see Flowers returning from a five-year hiatus from The Killers music.

The Killers - All photos by The Rock and Roll Princess
Dressed in an expensive dark suit, Brandon Flowers looked more like a 1940's crooner than a rock star.  He took his place in back of a blue neon male symbol placed across his keyboard.  The background singers (two wore suit jackets without shirts and a lot of two sided tape) were behind pink neon female symbols.  The politically charged Run from Cover started the show with an intense energy that remained throughout the night.  One of the most memorable moments was during the song The Man (the neon gender symbols finally made sense) when tons of pink confetti fell from the rafters.  Flowers sounded like Tom Jones as he sang, "I got gas in the tank/I got money in the bank/I got news for you baby, you're looking at the man."  The main set ended with All These Things That I've Done with the crowd chanting, "I got soul, but I not a solider" when another batch of confetti mixed with red, white, and blue streamers rained down upon the masses.

The Book of Mormon/King of Rock
The encore combined Brandon Flowers' faith and hometown of Las Vegas together in the song The Calling.  The introduction had the voice of actor Woody Harrelson reciting Matthew 9:10-12 (as he does on the album).  Flowers came out dressed in a shinny metallic gold suit dancing like Elvis Presley singing, "I walked into town with a message for my old man/I've got the last two chapters of Matthew in my hand."  The Book of Mormon/King of Rock persona changed when he brought out his inner Bruce Springsteen for their anthem When You Were Young. The guy behind me was belting out the song louder than Flowers who had a microphone.  The night ended with Mr. Brightside one of the first songs The Killers ever wrote and their biggest hit.  As the band left the stage and the house lights went up, Johnny Mathis' Wonder Wonderful played.  The audience left the venue covered in streamers and confetti hoping they didn't catch the flu from the guy in the gold metallic suit.

Albert Hammond Jr.
Supporting act Albert Hammond Jr. (best known for playing guitar in the band The Strokes) was one of the supporting acts. Appearing in a red and black striped suit (unfortunately not a metallic gold one) Hammond performed a set of guitar driven songs featuring material from his soon to be released solo album entitled Francis Trouble.  The subject matter concerns his twin brother Francis being stillborn.  Despite the tragedy, the songs came across as upbeat.   Hammond started his own line of men's suits (he really did) that will keep the rocker looking sharp singing about the dead for years to come.  R.I.P. Francis.

Amanda Brown
 The reality television show The Voice (the one with spinning chairs) got Amanda Brown noticed when she wowed the audience with her version of Aerosmith's Dream On.  This led to background singing gigs with Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, and Adele.  Now she is stepping in front of the spotlight as one of the opening act for The Killers.  Brown wore all black with silver boots (unfortunately not a metallic gold suit).  Her vocals silenced the crowd who were bursting in anticipation to see Mr. Brightside.    Brown's new single Believers could easily be played on mainstream radio, but the slow acoustic number Amen impressed me the most. Brown's set was short, but she returned as one of The Killers' background singers wearing a suit jacket without a shirt.

See you at the next show.  I'll be the one pulling pink confetti out of my hair wearing a gold metallic suit without a shirt.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Marilyn Manson and Amazonica at Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, CO on 1/20/18

After two decades of observing the controversial artist who has been blamed for inspiring horrific acts, I have come to one definitive conclusion... Marilyn Manson fans do not know how to dress for the weather.  When I saw the shock rocker open for Alice Cooper at Red Rocks, his fans came out on a sweltering hot summer day decked out in Goth wear.  Their journey up the amphitheater's many steps was extremely difficult because they were dressed like they were attending the wicked witch's funeral.  Five years later on a cold winter night, I found myself standing outside waiting for the doors to open to witness his latest production.  A large number of his fans were shivering in their black t-shirts and dangerously short skirts (Industrial Goth Metal fans do not believe in coats).  Don't they understand the flu vaccine is only 32% effective this year?

Marilyn Manson fans 
Brian Warner AKA Marilyn Manson started to shock America when Nine Inch Nails' lead singer Trent Reznor produced his first album and recruited him to be the opening act for their Downward Spiral tour in 1994.  Since then Manson had a number of hit songs, married and divorced burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese, and acted in a variety of movie and television roles.  Saturday's show was originally scheduled in October, but a stage prop fell on Manson and broke his fibula in two places (Rock and Roll is a dangerous business). This delayed his Heaven Upside Down tour until the beginning of the year.

Before the theatrics begun, the auditorium filled with thick fog.  The crowd started to chant, "Manson, Manson, Manson." The haze started to dissipate and the house lights went dark.  A Marilyn Manson's cover of Cry Little Sister from the 1987 Lost Boys movie soundtrack played over the PA.  The crowd suddenly shoved closer to the stage throwing bodies across the auditorium.

Marilyn Manson
Manson entered the stage in an electronic wheelchair (shaped like a throne) with his stage-hands dressed in medical scrubs.  It was a perfect way to incorporate his injury into his act.  Manson set a dark mood immediately with the song The Reflecting God from his Antichrist Superstar album. "Saw heaven and hell were lies/When I'm God everybody dies."

Manson stood up for the next few songs showing his cast for his broken leg.  He continued to use the wheel chair off and on throughout the night.  Manson looked like he was in pain, but he has always seemed distressed.  Mobscene had the crowd singing, "Be obscene, be be obscene" like demonic cheerleaders.  This lead to a few songs from Manson's new album Heaven Upside Down.  Surprisingly, a large percentage of the crowd already knew the lyrics.  It got a little scary during Kill4 Me.  Manson chanted, "Would you kill, kill, kill for me?/I love you enough to ask you again/Would you kill, kill, kill for me?"

Manson with his Sweet Dreams
After every song, Manson would drop the microphone and the stage would go dark.  His roadie would hunt for the mic with a green light and place it back in Manson's hands before the next song.  Manson introduced The Dope Show by having his "medical" crew bring him something to smoke on stage.  He shouted with a voice that didn't sound all that sober, "I don't like the drugs but the drugs like me."   During the Eurythmics Sweet Dreams, Manson was placed on a hospital gurney while his ""doctors" tried to sedate him.  After attempting to tap the rhythm on his bass player's guitar, he ended the night with The Beautiful People with no encore. His followers left the venue quickly because they didn't have jackets to retrieve from the coat check.

There are definitely ways to win crowds over when you are an opening act.  You could compliment the audience's enthusiasm, cheer for the local sports teams, or admire the city's beauty.  But there is one sure way to turn the people against you.  It's saying the wrong name of the city.  That's exactly what supporting act Victoria Harrison stage name Amazonica did shortly into her set.   She asked if Salt Lake City was excited to be there (the tour played in Utah the previous night).  That's when the crowd booed the London DJ. Amazonica has been spinning records for after parties for the likes of Liam Gallagher, Deftones, and U2. During her set, Amazonica spun records from Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, The Beastie Boys, and The Doors.  The crowd seemed to like her pick of songs. It was almost enough to forgive her from thinking Denver was anything like the land of the Mormons.  Amazonica posted, "Denver!!! … not salt Lake City #Blonde #British #doh" on her social media.  Later I noticed that Marilyn Manson mentioned "Denver" an unusual amount of times during his performance.

See you at the next show.  I'll be the one not dressed for the weather strapped down on a hospital gurney.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

St. Vincent and Tuck & Patti at The Fillmore Auditorium- Denver, CO 1/15/18

St. Vincent
I can appreciate a beautiful painting while not grasping its symbolism. It doesn't stop me at marveling at its appealing colors. That's exactly what I felt during the St. Vincent's Fear the Future concert on a cold Monday night. The solo art piece had Annie Clark, AKA St. Vincent, dressed as a futuristic sadomasochistic superhero.  She performed in front of video clips of her eating moving sushi, rolling in orange shredded fax paper, and having plastic surgery during a Hollywood press conference.  It was over my head like my college philosophy class, but it was beautiful (unlike my college philosophy class).

St. Vincent showing off her assets - Photo
by the Rock and Roll Princess
The first set of music was reworked arrangements of St. Vincent's better-known songs.  Appearing on one side of the stage dressed in thigh high hot pink latex boots and a matching bustier, St. Vincent started with her earliest material from 2007's debut album Marry Me and worked her way through her 2014's Grammy award winning self titled album.   She sang and played guitar to backing tracks that had lush string arrangements mixed with drum machines and synthesizers.  The crowd was memorized.  Besides cheering and applauding between songs they were silent until the chorus of Strangers when they sung, "Paint the black hole blacker."  After a few more songs, St. Vincent would change stage positions along with her different colored guitars until she was finally near my side of the stage.  That's when she turned her backside my direction (I didn't know if this was an insult or maybe the best view of the night).

St. Vincent and gifted underwear
After the first set, St. Vincent appeared on a platform center stage in a silver mini-skirt with green latex sleeves (I guess it was the futuristic superhero sadomasochistic prom look).  She performed her latest album Masseduction in its entirety. The songs were played along with bizarre videos and seizure inducing strobe lights during her guitar solos  In the middle of the set, "fancy underwear" were tossed on stage. St. Vincent stopped and pondered to the audience if the undergarment was clean. She also educated the crowd about the non sexiness of Gilligan & O'Malley Target brand underwear.  St. Vincent informed the giver of the garment that she would knit a quilt with it and give it to her mother.

St. Vincent in front of images of St. Vincent
One of the themes I understood from Masseduction was addiction.  The horror jingle Pills and the haunting Happy Birthday Johnny illustrated the monstrosities of drug addiction. St. Vincent is donating a dollar from every ticket sold from the Fear the Future Tour to the Phoenix House.  That organization assists individuals and families with substance abuse problems and mental illness.  Before closing the show, St. Vincent thanked her aunt and uncle, Tuck & Patti, for opening the show.  "They provide much needed compassion to this world."
Tuck & Patti

Before transforming into St. Vincent, a fifteen-year-old Annie Clark toured with her uncle Tuck Andress and auntie Patti Cathcart better know as the jazz duet Tuck & Patti. Clark returned the favor and had them open for her this time. The couple has been married for thirty-two years and performing together for thirty-five.  They took the stage dressed to impress in white.  The crowd who were there to see an indie rock goddess dressed in latex listened politely.  Cathcart told the audience a heart-warming story about helping a struggling single mother at a grocery store. It was the introduction to the song Strength that she wrote about the experience.  Andress played a solo instrumental version of Stevie Wonder's I Wish on his 1953 Gibson L-5.  It made it obvious that amazing guitar playing is in the family genes.  Patti Cathcart came back to join him for Jimmy Hendrix's Castles Made of Sand/Little Wing medley.

See you at the next show.  I'll be in thigh high latex boots with my backing tracks.


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Top Shows of 2017

It's been a fantastic year .... for live music in Denver, Colorado.  I saw amazing large production concerts such as hometown heroes One Republic at Fiddler's Green and Zac Brown at Coors Field. Since Jack White (my lord and savior) hasn't toured in recent years, I got my fix watching his disciples Lillie Mae (fiddle playing phenomenon), Pokie Larfarge (old school honkey tonk singer), and Olivia Jean (Goth rock goddess). I was in the audience when the soulful country crooner Chris Stapleton and the world music of Purple Martini played incredible Red Rocks shows. I witnessed Thao (from the Get down Stay Down) channel feminism rage with a banjo. I caught the Nashville guitar powerhouse Diarrhea Planet blow the roof off the Marquis Theater.  But five other shows stood out from a year packed with stunning appearances.  So without further ado.... Here are my top shows of the year:

Michael Franti
5.  Michael Franti and Spearhead at Breckenridge Brewery in Littleton, CO on 10/8/17 - Michael Franti inspired a bunch of beer drinkers through life affirming songs about peace and positivity. The hurricane relief concert had the entire crowd singing and dancing around the jumping barefooted singer (Franti had knee surgery at the end of this tour. Go figure). After the bouncing ended, almost every Spearhead member continued to spread the love by hugging the entire front row including me.

4.  Father John Misty at Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Morrison, CO 8/25/17 - I am thankful Josh Tillman AKA Father John Misty decided to become a musician instead of forming an occult. If he started his own religion, I am afraid many of his followers would be wearing the Heaven's Gate Nikes and drinking the Jonestown Kool Aid. After his passionate performance everyone in the audience was worshiping at the alter of Misty.

Regina Spektor
3.  Regina Spektor at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, CO on 3/29/17 - The petite former Soviet Union immigrant dazzled the audience with her miraculous piano playing and quirky lyrics. My favorite moment was when she abandoned the piano and rapped during her song Small Bill$. Despite a few audience members storming out when she shared her thoughts about the president's immigration policies, Spektor's charm made the rest of the crowd smile in adoration.

2.  Elephant Revival at Shambhava Yoga Eldorado Ashram in Boulder, CO on 5/19/17 - The members of the folk roots rock band rewarded volunteers from Wildlands Restoration to a free show in return for a few hours of restoring a hiking trail. The setting was spiritual, the message was peace, and lead singer Bonnie Paine played the saw (that's right a musical saw). It was the most Boulder experience in my life. And it was awe-inspiring.

John Paul White - All Photos taken by
The Rock and Roll Princess
1. John Paul White at the Bluebird Theater in Denver, CO on 5/10/17. The former member of the duo Civil Wars somber songs about lost love, death, and despair made a deep connection with the audience. The majority of the songs performed were from his album Beulah (biblical word meaning a place of peace and isolation from strife). The memory of this performance still gives me salvation from a year of divisiveness, disasters, and evil.

See you at the next show.  I'll be the one wishing your new year is full of happiness, music, and possibly a visit to an ashram.

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.