SkullSkullSkull – Denver – Double Entendre, CO – 2000-08-18

Where: Denver – Double Entendre, CO.

When: 2000-08-18

Young indie and punk kids must love it when bands come to little record stores. After all, most of the bands that come to Denver and have enough indie credibility to not sell out the larger venues play at the 15th St. Tavern or, possibly, the Lion’s Lair. Both are bars and only have 21+ shows. I, however, being over 21, find record store shows a bit grueling. It feels a bit weird to be the oldest one at a show, but I always feel that way for shows at this record shop.

So other than being surrounded by smelly 13-year-olds, the place is also at least 30 degrees warmer inside than outside. Walking out the door, you can literally feel that temperature difference. So I didn’t quite last it through this entire show. The band Midsummer said that their last song was a long instrumental version of some other song, and after a minute or two, I took off. It was a shame, because the band was so good.

But first I’ll start with the openers. SkullSkullSkull – what’s up with that name? Not one, not two, but three Skulls. That’s right, you get three skulls for the price of one in this limited-time offer. And not only that, we’ll throw in the fourth skull for free! No, just three skulls. This local band plays that style of hardcore that always starts off all cool and melodic but then turns into something that sounds like everything else, loud and fast and mostly incoherent, all with crazy screaming going on. I’m willing to bet they’re going to be good, especially with those groovy melodic breakdowns at the beginning and middle of every song. But so far, they sound like they’re doing it because everyone else is doing it. Plus, they totally look like the cast of Freaks and Geeks – a few freaks, a few geeks. Scary group of people, but at least they weren’t posing as sensitive emo-hardcore kids.

Anton Boardman come from New Jersey, they said, and there are only two members: a drummer and the bass player/singer. No guitar. I thought that would hurt their sound, but I don’t think that’s possible, because these two basically just played their instruments as loud and fast as possible to cover up the fact that they had no idea what they are doing. They’re also talkers. In between every song, they would stop and explain what the song was about, then they would give their opinions, then they’d talk some more, basically rambling. A three minute discussion lead into a 45 second blaring song. Then they’d talk some more. After a few of those songs, I went outside. You couldn’t hear the mic from outside, so all I could hear was about three minutes of silence and then a minute of noise, rinse and repeat. Geesh.

Yeah, well, southern California’s Midsummer made it all worth it. If you haven’t heard of this band – and it’s likely that you haven’t – you should! Playing music off their first EP, Catch and Blur, as well as an upcoming EP and full-length album, the band proved to be even better live than recorded. The songs ran from quieter, moodier, keyboard-laden songs that reminded me of Antarctica to more intricate and complex, as well as lengthy instrumental numbers. And the two singers harmonized with near perfection.

I tell you, this band has something special. They can play slow, soft songs with lots of synthesizers and lovely melodic guitars, and then suddenly explode into an intense, powerful song that lies somewhere between math-rock, hardcore and melodic emo. The lead singer/guitarist even switched back and forth from guitar to bass (to accompany the full-time bass player) several times in one song. Fan-freakin-tastic!

But then, I just couldn’t take another 10-minute instrumental when it was so hot in there, so I left. It was worth waiting around through one mediocre and one ludicrous band for Midsummer, and I got a great taste of their more rocking side. This band, for being relatively unknown and releasing everything themselves, was amazingly tight and mature. Definitely check them out, but hope to do it at a tavern in your town.