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I’m ba-ack!

Yes, my friends, it has been a long time.  My apologies for a very belated Happy 2014!  While I have definitely decided to overdo it this quarter commitment-wise, one of those commitments is to return to sharing my musings with the world (otherwise known as my 4 faithful readers).  So, without further ado:

I wasn’t sure if I should start with a review of the awesome Volbeat show on Thursday night or if I should start with a tribute to Kurt Cobain on the (presumed) 20th Anniversary of his loss.  We’re going to start with Volbeat, because it was more recent, if not more important in the history of music.

This last Thursday, April 3, at the Fillmore Auditorium here in Denver, I had the incredible opportunity to see Volbeat perform with Trivium and Digital Summer opening up.  For those unfamiliar with the awesomeness that is Volbeat, they are band from Denmark who have managed to combine metal, rock, punk, rockabilly, and country into a unique and readily recognizable sound. My interest was piqued after seeing them open for Megadeth on Gigantour 2012 and was solidified after hearing their latest album Outlaw Gentleman & Shady Ladies.  Any band that not only sings a song about a 19th Century courtesan, but then releases that song as a single is forever A-OK in my book.

This show was my third time seeing them and it is always worth the price of entry.  In an attempt at brevity (ha), I shall quickly summarize the opening acts:

Digital Summer:  Not terrible but not great, with a very weird sense of stage lighting.  They were completely back-lit the entire length of their set, which was cool for only about half of one song.  Despite having been around 8 years, they may need a few more to figure out how to be a compelling live act.  5/10 on the MARS*.

Trivium:  These guys have been around quite some time now.  Their music has never spoken to me (not sure how to articulate why, other than it just doesn’t resonate), but their live performance was solid and well done.  7/10.

And now on to the good stuff:  Volbeat.  I can’t emphasize how much their live show impacts my appreciation of their music.  There is something about their music that really lends itself to live performance, an energy to it that almost has to be released live.  The whole band are entertaining, but the show really goes to singer Michael Poulsen and bassist Anders Kjølholm.  Guitarist Rob Caggiano is a monster on guitar (and Michael is no slouch on the six-string either!), and drummer Jon Larsen gave a nearly flawless performance (though from where we were standing, we couldn’t see him behind his massive kit.  The flying sticks assured us he was there).  They played all the songs I had hoped (and could reasonably expect) they would play, so I have no real complaints.  My only caveat would be that they may need to shake up the set list order a bit, in order to avoid too many of their similar sounding songs (every band has a formula – no judgement) being played back to back.  All in all, I will gladly see them every time they come through and recommend them highly to anyone who will listen.  🙂  9/10

For a taste (recognize the verse melody?):

And now on to a quick tribute to Kurt Cobain.  Nirvana was an inescapable part of my junior high and high school experience (he passed when I was a junior in HS) and so, as it is for many a Gen-Xer, his music will always be “my” music.

I considered writing a dissertation on the importance of their music (been done. A LOT), the iconography of Kurt Cobain (ditto), a rejection of the revisionist history of their immediate impact on music (not done enough), or even a consideration of did he or did she do the deed (see the movie and the recent unnecessary reopening of his case by the SPD).

But since so much has been written about them in the last two decades and, more importantly, the fact that what matters most to me about Kurt and Nirvana’s music isn’t all the hype and hoopla around it but the actual music itself, I shall simply share some of my fav’s. I hope you too will enjoy what is, at the end of the day, Kurt Cobain’s true legacy:

All Apologies from MTV Unplugged Live in New York: Nirvana

Lithium from Nevermind

Where Did You Sleep Last Night from MTV Unplugged Live in New York: Nirvana (a cover of an old Blues/Folk song, but it gives me chills every time)

Territorial Pissings from Nevermind

Until next time (which will be sooner than 3 months, I promise!)…


*MARS = Michelle’s Arbitrary Rating System.