How did I manage to make a choice among the three shows going on last night — The Stay Awake at The Niner, Aqueduct/Golden Republic at O’Leaver’s and M. Ward at Sokol Underground?
The Niner was immediately disqualified because, well, it’s the Niner. Bad sound and nowhere to sit on a typical Saturday (the only night they have live music) makes for no fun. And it’s always more fun to be at a venue where you know someone there, and I don’t. Looks like I’ll have to wait to see The Stay Awake, again. I was told that M. Ward had sold 200 advanced tickets, which means it probably was sold out. Sokol Underground on a sold-out evening can be a blast if the act is high-energy. M.Ward is anything but. I’ve seen him a couple times before and wasn’t in the mood for a night of solo acoustic confessionals (which is a nice way of saying I think he’s boring live). I wouldn’t be surprised if his buddy Oberst took the stage for a guest vocal. If anyone was there, please let us know how it went.
So the decision was actually pretty easy. O’Leaver’s bands at least played upbeat rock. When I arrived at around 11 I ran into about a half-dozen people, all of whom asked why I wasn’t down at The Underground. Seems the 70 paid had the same idea as me. Last night’s show was the last on the Aqueduct/Golden Republic tour, with the bands returning to Denver and Lawrence respectively afterward. It made for a nice bon voyage, and probably explained the somewhat sloppy, if not happy-go-lucky, performances. Aqueduct was more laid back than when they opened for United State of Electronica a few months ago. Upbeat and tuneful, they played somewhat standard indie rock fare. The crowd favorites, unfortunately, were covers of Geto Boys’ “Damn It Feels Good to be a Gangsta” and Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” — lots of drunk people with their fists in the air.
This was my first exposure to Golden Republic, and they came off as sort of a poor man’s Spoon, which is probably exactly what they weren’t going for. Lead singer Ben Grimes vocally does a spot-on Britt Daniel, and some of the songs even had Spoon-like “ewws.” Dance-y indie rock appears to be in vogue these days. Their best song was the set closer highlighted by a long repeated riff, one of the few times I got into what they were doing.
Tonight is Q & Not U and The Apes at Sokol Underground. If I get my column written, I might drop in.
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