Shakedown Street, Sprindale Quartet, Atomga, Recovery Act 8.20.12
Quixote's True Blue
Words By J-man
Photos By Carly Marthis
Arriving to a fairly packed Owsleys' courtyard is not typical given the early hour of the night. Most opening bands draw a handful of people, with folks streaming in as the night gets later. At about 9:30 pm on that summer Saturday evening, the courtyard was crawling with music fans looking to get their first glimpse of one of Denver's newest bands, The Recovery Act. That evening would mark the band's debut and with more well known staples of the scene, Shakedown Street, Springdale Quartet, Atomga and Artist at Large Pete Wall (Particle, Textiles) on sax, the evening was sure to be at least a moderate success.
Our arrival came a couple of songs into The Recovery Act's set and they were already getting to it with the classic soul tune, "Son of a Preacher Man." Not many bands take on such iconic and challenging material on their first gig, yet here we were and lead singer Lindsay French was proving that this was indeed, just the beginning. Her backing band looked young, but displayed the skill set of musicians who were much older. Dan Howson's guitar work weaved in an out of the organ output of Adam Williamson. The rhythm section of Tyler Olmsted on bass and Adam Segalis on drums fit the mold and had the patio groovin'. A few songs into the set and the band called up Artist at Large, Pistol Pete Wall. The energy quickly became elevated as it was clear to see the band's visible excitement at Pete joining the mix.
Pete slayed the solos and fills with precision and a bright quality that clearly stood out. With the set's conclusion, friends family and new fans made their way to the side stage to show their appreciation. From an objective standpoint, the band sounded good, not only for their inaugural gig, but for a band at any point in the early part of their musical career. The instrumentation was strong, the vocals were tight and the energy was great. It would be up to the Denver music scene moving forward to welcome (or not) this new talented group. In a saturated market, exposure and finding your place can be tough, but one thing that The Recovery Act has going for it is its tendency to lean on soul. Denver has a plethora of funk bands, doing soul... But what about a soul band that does funk?
Inside Quixote's was a terrible project that will go unnamed. They had all the annoying aspects of Primus' shrill tone and nonsensical approach, without the extreme talent and showmanship. Back on the patio, second rate Colorado afrobeat band, Atomga took the stage to a packed house. The instrumentation was average, the song selection was fine, but the solo work and energy left much to be desired. With bands like The Motet and Euforquestra so easily accessible locally, Atomga is going to have to step up if they want to make a name for themselves. Somewhere in the middle of their set the band called up Pete to show them how it was done. He took over to the point where I felt like several of Atomga's members were just watching him destroy. To say the set wasn't fun would be inaccurate, it was; but it's time to step it up, Atomga.
Inside Quixote's, Colorado's premier Grateful Dead cover band, Shakedown Street took the stage to a quickly filling room. I recall the first time I saw Shakedown Street and I remember thinking "these guys are decent." The more I see this band, the more I learn to appreciate the carrying of the torch, as well as the quality and appreciation that this group of gentleman has for Dead music. Their instrumentation and intuition was spot on, the depth of the jams were deep and the inclusion of Pete helped to "Furthur" elevate the set. Unlike earlier points in the evening, Pete worked his way into the compositions as opposed to coming out swinging.
As the evening got later and the following morning's obligations came to mind, we slowly made our way to the exit. That night was a promising reminder of the potential of the local music scene. And although we missed Springdale Quartet's set, I received a late night text from Pete expressing his excitement for the band and the potential for what they were doing. As my eyes became heavy I reflected on yet another beautiful night on one of the countries top music scenes...
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