Genetics with Aspen Hourglass 2.15.14

1UP Colfax
Denver, CO

Words By Andrew Martin
Photos By Carly Marthis

Saturday night, I had the pleasure of attending another one of 1UP Colfax’s free shows. I’m surprised at how many times I’ve attended 1UP Colfax since its opening back just before Christmas: Six, including Genetics with Aspen Hourglass at what I’m proud to say was Genetics’ first headlining gig.

To provide a smidgen of backdrop on the evening, I was exhausted already. The Love Shack over at Cervantes and a 5:30 AM puck drop for the USA/Russia Men’s Olympic Hockey game led to a day of periodic napping and that general insanity that comes with not having gotten anywhere resembling enough sleep. Come 8:00 PM, I made up my mind to get cleaned up and head on over to 1UP. You know, support a band I enjoy, have a drink, beat X-Men for the 700th time - chill out with some good tunes.

After the general rituals that most concertgoers have (grab a beer, find a few friends, say hi to any staff members you may know), I stocked up on quarters and beelined over to the X-Men machine near the stage. Nothing provides a good backdrop to smashing Sentinals in the head with Colossus like a good rock band, and I’m pleased to report that Aspen Hourglass, the opener for the evening, provided quite the good soundtrack to my crushing of Pyro and The Blob. It was a strong, spastic set.

After a pretty standard setbreak, Genetics stepped up on stage. They came out amped. The first set went really well. I don’t know how better to describe it. Given that I was “taking it easy” on Saturday, I allowed myself the freedom of wandering, playing video games, meeting random people, those sort of ADD concert activities. But every time I found myself outside smoking or off to play another arcade game, the activity away from the stage almost invariably began with some comment like "man, they showed up tonight." I wasn’t the only one impressed by the show. There was a wide variety of people who swung in for the free show or to play a few video games and ended up sticking around for everything Genetics played.

Genetics closed their first set with a cover. The choice in a cover and how the it's performed is telling to me as it can show how comfortable a band is when given musical material to work with, that they can hold down or at least imitate the sound of the band they are covering. The cover Genetics chose was “Little Faces” by Oysterhead. Ballsy choice, had Genetics not already demonstrated their musical abilities by performing the majority of “Grand Pecking Order” back in May at Quixote’s True Blue.

Setbreak was short. The crowd wasn’t absurdly huge at any given moment, but there was a good turnout, and even more importantly, the majority of the crowd stuck around for both sets. If you’ve been to the venue, the crowd stuck out almost to the edge of the bar. That’s not bad for a local show.

The second set went much like the first, and didn’t lose out in intensity or creativity whatsoever. It was a lot of fun to listen to, and I found myself more than once mentally noting the fact that they have a good way of making me want to stay out on the floor listening. Even when I’d wander off, I’d invariably get pulled back over to the stage, drawn by any blend of the 4-piece’s woven melodies. Drummer Nat Snow threw down a consistent foundation for guitarist Jeff Ervine, bassist Joel Searls and keyboardist Scott Anderson to really work with, explore, expand upon and generally carry the tune from just music to something far more captivating. The band followed the standard jam-session style of “establish a melody/groove and then let somebody run with it,” but there were moments when they went into straight up Voltron mode and would blow the audience out of the water as one combined unit. And once you’ve gotten comfortable with the groove, they’ll all suddenly split off into an entirely new melody, almost on a whim. It was a well rehearsed set.

Genetics has a good sense of balance in their play. For being very solid musicians in their own right, they know when to unload a screaming guitar solo or a stomping bass riff, but they know when to hold back and let everybody else catch up as well. When the time would come for those huge builds, it wouldn’t be just the keys carrying it, it wouldn’t be a solo stealing the limelight, it would be the full band climbing the musical ladder together. You get a full, rich sound that offers so many different areas to focus on from beginning to end. The band is very in sync, they clearly prepare heavily for their sets - in other words, they give a shit, they have fun with it, and it shows. Evenings like Saturday at 1UP are the nights that remind us how great it is having access to a music scene as full and nuanced as Denver’s.

To conclude the show, Jeff announced that Genetics would be playing the upcoming Festival 64 at 1UP Colfax 4/18-4/20. Ultimately, it was a good show. I’m really glad I went. It was a low-key evening by intention, but a great performance from Genetics really pushed it up a notch with zero effort on my part.

Carly's Photo Gallery

Set One: Look Around > I.N.S., AirForce, First Time, Leap, Little Faces (Oysterhead)

Set Two: Goggle, Final Fantasy 7 / Dr. Franken Mashup, Scoundrel, Toss n' Wash, Numerality, Isis, Slowmotion Explosion, Dr. Spookymuffin, Trident, The Whale Song


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