Technicolor Tone Factory & Genetics 1.10.14
The 1up Colfax
Words By Andrew Martin
Photos By J. Picard
Friday marked the third time I’ve gotten the opportunity to see a show at 1up Colfax, one of Denver’s newest and most unique concert venues. The first of these three shows was December 20th, 2013, for the Grand Opening show with Yamn and DJ Russo. The second show was, much to my delight, the Umphrey’s McGee Bill GrahUM III show (with a set from DJ Wyllys as an opener and setbreak). Finally, I attended the Technicolor Tone Factory show with an opening set from Genetics on the 10th of January, and after three incredible shows, 1up Colfax is quickly becoming a venue where I can fully expect to have a fantastic time.
The overall size of the venue is similar to that of Cervantes’ Other Side, with a much lower ceiling. The stage is lower as well, and it certainly works to create that “small intimate venue” feeling. The stage lighting is very good as well. Their designers really did a great job of putting together a setup that can be flexible enough for a rock band or for a straight DJ show as far as the visuals are concerned. There are two layers of lights, one to specifically illuminate the band, and another set of spots/cones to give a good lighting designer room to work. As an added bonus, there is a set of illuminated bars behind the stage just to give a different feel to a song (they look great lit up when the stage lights are on blackout). Paul, Yamn’s lighting designer, puts on one of the better local light shows I’ve seen, and I obviously don’t need to speak to the talent of Jefferson Waful; both crewmen were able to well utilize the equipment they were given to work with to give a light show worthy of the bands.
The sound is the final thing we should discuss. The sound is clear, loud, and good. I can hear everything pretty clearly, and frankly, I don’t really notice a venue’s sound unless it’s extremely good or extremely poor. To recap, 1up Colfax is a small venue that was very well thought out, and while it’s a small venue, it does offer some big venue luxuries that add up to, well, a good time. Check it out, let us know what you think.
So now that we’ve set the stage, so to speak, let’s move on to the show.
Genetics opened up the show with a track that immediately danced among the full spectrum of jam rock, and that theme of flexing their musical cred carried on throughout the night. Genetics wore their influences on their sleeves: you could guitar tones from Lotus and prog rock dance parties (yes, you can dance to prog) in a similar vein to Umphrey’s. They held back a bit from bringing the real shredding rage, which I thought was a good move on their part. After grabbing everybody’s attention with very blatant, punctuated genre jumps in their first song, Genetics launched themselves into an electrojam dance party that more than sufficiently got the full crowd in swing. During the set, drummer Will Trask from Jaden Carlson band sat in on percussion, which I will happily report to have added an invaluable curtain of sound to the aural backdrop.
Genetics showed their strength as musicians and cohesion as a band by executing wonderful transitions between tunes, and even segueing from one well developed groove into sudden, abrasive hard rock riffs that left everybody guessing what was going to come next. The groove didn’t stop, even for Genetics. Near what we expected to be the end of the their set, guitarist Jeff Ervine gave the standard “last song” announcement, then surprised everyone (including himself and the rest of Genetics) that he apparently couldn’t read time and they weren't done, and ensuingly launched the band into several more tracks that were far from leftovers from an already-strong list. By the end of the set, I was very ready for the set break, but I told the friends I was with, “Honestly, I could handle another set of Genetics right now.”
I’ve only seen Genetics play in a couple of limited performances and with smaller audiences. They’re an act that is very fueled by the crowd in front of them, and when the crowd is feeling it, they’re feeling it, and it reflects in the music they’re playing. Friday night, Genetics was not the promising-but-underwhelming opener I’d seen in the past, but a band that came on stage with something to prove and the talent to show it. The set was an eclectic blend of the best parts of the rock/electro jam sound. Genetics did some good self advertisement in front of a pretty packed house. I know I’ll be more eager to see their name on a concert lineup going forward.
After the standard setbreak, Technicolor Tone Factory’s five members took the stage. Now, I’ve seen TTF open up for both moe. and Yamn, both big ol’ shredders, so I already had an idea of what I was getting into. Problem for me was that I had four nights of Umphrey’s McGee between Friday and the moe. show where I’d last seen Technicolor, and I have a bad habit of mistaking having a great time with seeing a great band. Once again, I’m pleased to say, I was reminded of why Technicolor Tone Factory is a band that I need to keep on my “make it a point to see these guys” list.
The energy level showed no signs of waning as the band continued raging into their salsa funk tune “Jalapeño,” welcoming Will Trask from Jaden Carlson Band on percussion. “Jalapeño” haphazardly laid funk beats and mad bass riffs before the audience in preparation for “Funk 49.” On top of the funk that gives the song its namesake, 1up was treated to a guest appearance from the Denver jam scene’s favorite new surprise guest, Jaden Carlson, along with Eric Luba to round out the entire Jaden Carlson band on the stage. True to form, guitarists Taylor Frederick and Jarrod Guaderrama kicked guitar licks back forth between themselves and Jaden, each topping the previous until I was sure their guitars, the stage, and possibly my hair were going to burst into flames.
The set concluded with “Knuckle Puck” (that title alone should make any child of the 90s grin).
After a well-earned break, the band retook the stage with Will Trask rejoining on percussion, and the second set was opened up with “Funk Compass,” followed by an absolutely screaming cover of Daft Punk’s “Voyager.” This cover of “Voyager” not only showcased bassist Zach Jackson’s capabilities of laying down a groove and Greg Kallfa’s steady synth work on the keys, but it really demonstrated the band’s ability to take something rehearsed and really run into the wilds of improvised jamming. The builds are well framed by drummer Brian Lefever, creating the tension and anticipation that any big build has to capture to really pull the rage out of the fans. There aren’t many acts that can get me as a concertgoer raging anywhere near as hard as during that “Voyager,” and generally that act is Umphrey’s. So Kudos on that note, Technicolor Tone Factory.
All said, I can’t remember a time I’ve had so much fun at a Colorado local show. Many thanks to Genetics and Technicolor Tone Factory for providing Denver concertgoers with an absolutely blistering evening of Rock and Roll, and thanks to 1up Colfax for the low low ticket price of $0.00 to party in a very cool venue.
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