As I mentioned, I woke up on day 4 feeling pretty terrible. The beers and Pie Hole and ice cream and walking and a regrettable decision to eat late night Blue Bonnet mexican, had all caught up to me. This was also the day of my other band’s (Cougar Gold) official set, which means I had to drag my beaten self to early afternoon rehearsal and load out.
Welcome to the last day of UMS!
While I didn’t make it the whole night, I also didn’t cash in my chips before seeing some great music either. Similar to Thursday, a lot of my time was spent at the venue my band was playing in. In this case, it was Illegal Pete’s.
Bighorn – Bighorn is a newer rock band based here in Denver. It’s a lovely, full throated, unapologetic offering of rock. Driving, heavy riffs and fluid yet punchy bass help to move their songs under the talents of their vocalist, who delivers solid grunge-ish melodies over top. These guys have something fun and I look forward to seeing more.
Oko Tygra – I felt like I was waiting all weekend for this one set. I love me some Oko Tygra and to see them on the main stage was such a treat. These guys are headed for something big…and quickly. They give us a welcomed nostalgia of 80’s new wave but with a bent that is completely new and fresh. All elements of this band are putting in 110%. The bass and drums are just locked in and on point from start to finish. The guitars both move the wonderful progressions forward as well as linger playfully over the mix. And Joshua fronts the group with the confidence and command of a veteran star. This is one of those bands that we will all probably be talking about how we got to see them when they (insert fun locally based anecdote here).
Surrender Signal – These guys made me mad. Why? Because they played before us (Cougar Gold) at Pete’s….and they were really good. You always secretly hope the people before you kind of suck so that you look more betterer (oh stop….you know it’s true). However, that most certainly wasn’t the case here. They are musical, technical, but yet convey a sense of emotion that is often missing in mathy rock. They are all working in perfect unison to push forward a hard edged and forceful sound that I believe has the potential to make a mark here in Denver. This appears to be a newer project and I can’t wait to see where they take it!
…and the Black Feathers – These guys are the very definition of great rock performers. I mean, they just sell it from the moment they take the stage to the moment they pull away. And it’s not just about the coordinated outfits (although I could talk your ear off about how I think more bands should put a little effort into being a band and yes…that might involve thinking about wearing something other than cargo shorts and a tee). And The Black Feathers teach us a thing or two about making sure to love what you do. They deliver to us a brand of rock that is energetic, danceable and often even anthem-esque. It’s refreshingly soulful and yet strikingly fun. It’s not just any band that can get a line of hot, tired and grumpy people to start dancing as they wait for their burritos. They did so with ease. Be sure to check them out and if you like to smile and enjoy stuff…go and see them live.
Male Blonding – This is another one of those “I’ve heard of them…but have never heard them” bands. I’ve wanted to see them for quite some time. Every ounce of me was ready to throw in the towel before they played however. It was 6:45. I was a tired and worn man. All I wanted to do was to find my bed and close my eyes for as long as they would stay closed. I am so happy that I was able to push ahead and make the long and arduous journey from Pete’s to Irish Rover (trust me, at the end of UMS…this .3 mile is indeed long and arduous).
Male Blonding did not disappoint. There is a pop-punk element to them but one that is fresh and exciting. Rich with movement, their music is intelligently crafted and masterfully performed. It’s music with hook enough to keep you tapping your toes but with a depth that makes you want to run and find their recorded offerings asap. I couldn’t have asked for a better set to close out my UMS 2015 with. Along with a handful of others, Male Blonding has found its way into my list of UMS discoveries that I will be following for a long time to come.