While it is normal for a touring band to end the show and be the headliner, tonight that was not the case. The Photo Atlas from Denver, CO were in fact the opening band. In rare circumstances, the opening band set the bar for the rest of the show, none of which were able to match up to them. First off, TPA are excellent and they provide a lot of energy. Sweat poured out onstage and there were lots of great vibes coming from the band, but the crowd was dead. As going to their Facebook page will prove, they are very upbeat and instantly accessible. To describe instantly accessible, this is the sort of band where anyone can find enjoyment in their live set, no matter what your genre preference is.
Josh Taylor’s upbeat drumming is what keeps this band in motion. Vocalist Alan Andrews gets the crowd going, while bassist Mark Hawkins and guitarist Bill Threlkeld keep it all in line. My favorite live song was “Red Orange Yellow.” It bugs me that they played an awesome 30-40 minute long set and only one person moved a muscle. The entire crowd was truly hipster, and this was my first foray into the infamous hipster crowd. It was unsettling, with everyone having plaid shirts, tight jeans, and big non-corrective glasses. EVERYONE THERE LOOKED THE SAME!
The next band to come up was Goblin King, a, uh, “voodoo rock” band from the local area. The singer was already drunk and looked like he was fresh from the ’50s with a greaser hairdo, and they didn’t do so hot. From what I remember, they played a medley of different songs from their set but the singer put way too much into it. It was a mess. The rest of the band wasn’t so bad, but you could just tell the singer was out of it.
The reason The Photo Atlas opened is because the original opening band, Cochinas, were a no-show. However, they arrived late and were allowed to play anyway. In every venue I’ve ever worked with, this isn’t allowed, but oh well. They were worse than Goblin King in every way. Listen here for yourself. It’s labeled as “bubblegum surf punk.” The vocals just GRATE my nerves into juice, and the best example of that is “Girls Making Out With Girls.” The band’s music was completely bland and tasteless, but the highlight of their set was that I bet Josh from The Photo Atlas a beer to put one of their stickers on the vocalist’s forehead. He did it and kissed her on top of that, so he earned his beer.
Now The Ugly Kids weren’t so bad. I would like to see them again to give them a second chance. I think that because the night stretched on longer than it should have due to Cochinas’ timely response, they had worn me out. Their music was somewhat decent surf punk, but that genre has been dragged into the ground already. Some of the songs had great energy, but some were really repetitive and unoriginal. I think if this band were able to hire a manager who knows what he’s doing to help them, they could definitely make something of themselves.
The night ended on a good note, with TPA and me drinking beer and playing a photo search game on the bar. We got the high score (which still remains unbeaten) and said our goodbyes. They are an excellent group of people and I hope to meet and hang out with them again in the future.