Summer of Serendipity: Space Lab, Genetics, Vital Organ & More 5.25 & 5.26
Denver's Civic Center Park
Words & Photos By J-man
Audio By Corey Sandoval (Kind Recordings)
Saturday May 25th 2013:
The sun was shining, the weather was sweet, two days of free music made me want to move my dancing feet. This past weekend Civic Center Park was the scene of the Summer of Serendipity free concert series featuring two days of fantastic music at the Greek Theater. The city was buzzing like a music festival as I approached the empty venue. The production crew was setting up at a rapidly efficient pace, while the vendors and merchandise booths took shape. The Malai Llama finished their opening set and made way for Colorado new-comer, Genetics. The five piece band began their set to a near empty space, but as their set progressed, and with the sound of "free music" bouncing between downtown buildings, the crowd grew in size. Through an hour and a half set Genetics shreded and displayed their ability to start, stop and change on the drop of a dime. The most interesting aspect of their set came with a Jamtronica breakdown that took the set to a whole other level. Following the time slot, those who were present sought the name of the band that they had just been blown away by.
Following a few hour break from the festivities I returned to Civic Center Park to find Pete Wall on stage with DeadPhish Orchestra who did a great job of reproducing some classic material from a couple of the scene's most beloved bands. For a band that's easy to write off as a cover/tribute band, I was impressed with their output and transitions. I wasn't the only one, as Civic Center began to fill in for the evening's main event! The Space Lab hit the stage around 9:00 PM to perform the music of Kraftwerk. The influence of Kraftwerk cannot be overstated, however on that night, I felt like the significance of the music was lost on an ill-informed crowd. Though many were not familiar with Kraftwerk, they had a clear understanding of tasty beats, nasty synth and grooving rhythms as the stage was packed with talent. From left to right; DJ Logic (Turntables), Scott Metzger (Guitar, Gene Ween Band), Allen Aucoin (Drums, Disco Biscuits), Jesse Miller (Bass, Lotus) and Steve Molitz (Synth, Vocals, Particle,) with special guest Pete Wall (Flute, Saxes), leaving no room for unseasoned jamtronica talent. Folks danced and celebrated the free music, also at times waiting in extended lines to purchase beer and alcohol. The night was a perfect evening of music in the park.
Sunday May 26th 2013:
I arrived at Civic Center Park just prior to Genetics' set, my legs still sore from the previous day's exertion. I was not surprised that a band had been added last minute by promoter Jay Bianchi, however, I was caught off guard by the talent displayed from a band that I had never heard of, Soul Explosion. What a treat to start the day! The organ driven group featured a Soulive style sound that seems much needed in this part of the country. Though their set was short, it was a great way to kick off Sunday in Denver! Genetics followed with a set as consistent as the day prior, however with an earlier slot, turn out was limited. That didn't stop Genetics as they powered through a killer set of progressive jam. Across town their was a music festival of a different sort, and following Genetics set, I headed down to the 16th St. Mall.
The Mall was buzzing with people holding anti-Monsanto signs, folks in costumes and patrons of Denver's Rock Festival. I made my way past several stages nestled off on the streets intersecting the mall, until I arrived at the stage in which The Congress were playing. The Congress has come a long way in the past few years from a raw rock band to a refined near popular rock act. They were joined by Pete wall for a portion of their set, further elevating the energy and output. The street was packed as I made my way back to the 16th St. vein and headed home for a few hours, only to return to Civic Center later that evening just in time to catch Joey Porter's Vital Organ.
The Space Lab Live at "Summer Of Serendipity" @ Civic Center Greek Theater on May 26, 2013.
The quartet ripped through classic funk/jazz covers and originals at a straight-ahead pace as Civic Center Park began to fill in for the evening. Ripping solos were passed around with Dan Schwindt stealing the show with his precise chops. As the sun set Vital Organ's set concluded and the set up for the main event began. An intro from DJ Logic transformed into a full band jam before taking a turn towards Kraftwerk. Highlights of the set included Steve Molitz speaking in French, Allen raging so hard on the kit that he broke the backline and Pete sitting in. However, song-wise, I was caught off guard by a cover of Lotus' "Shimmer & Out," that was very well-executed. Around 11:00 PM the weekend of free music in the park concluded. Fear not, the Summer of Serendipity concert series will resume on Saturday June 22nd!
J-man's Saturday Photo Gallery
J-man's Sunday Photo Gallery