By Zack Marshall
The opportunity to see three amazingly talented, up-and-coming bands performing at an intimate venue doesn’t come around very often. Seeing Japanese Breakfast, Mannequin Pussy, and The Spirit of The Beehive on September 30th was surely one of these rare opportunities.
The Spirit of the Beehive kicked off the evening appropriately with a set of droning yet powerful shoegaze-inspired pop songs. In parallel with their latest release “Pleasure Suck”, The Spirit of The Beehive’s performance projected the warm, abrasive, and dynamic sonic textures they are known for. Even though a great deal of their latest release’s material has some experimental recording styles, they were able to adapt these songs to a live context very tastefully. I would even say that I preferred some of the live versions of these songs more than their record because of the energy the band accumulated by the end of their set. The set had a truly epic ending in which both guitarists were syncopating and harmonizing two string bends while the bassist and drummer maintained a strong backbone throughout the chaos. I certainly hope The Spirit of The Beehive returns to Denver– especially after this show.
Next on the lineup was Mannequin Pussy. Contrary to the previous set, Mannequin Pussy’s songs were incredibly fast-paced and obviously punk-influenced. What truly stood out to me in their set was the dynamic contrast between the more fast-paced sections of songs and the very delicate, almost jazzy sections. In particular, the song “Romantic” especially illustrated this because of its sludgy, heavy introduction which quickly cuts to soft jazz-chords and falsetto vocals. Eventually, one of the guitarists from The Spirit of The Beehive joined Mannequin Pussy onstage and the vocalist was able to be more creative with her stage presence since she no longer had to serve the role as second guitarist. The last few songs of their set were more punk-centric but did not lose their catchiness in the slightest. By the end of the last song, Mannequin Pussy left the crowd energized and excited for Japanese Breakfast’s performance.
Finally, Japanese Breakfast hit the stage. As the set begun with a theatrical-sounding synthesizer intro, the crowd was on-edge and anticipating when the band would hop into their first track. After half a minute, the crowd was pleased as the band jolted to life as they played through a few tracks off of their latest record “Soft Sounds From Another Planet”. Much like the record, Japanese Breakfast’s set was very atmospheric and intimate yet poppy and engaging. The track “Road Head” was certainly my personal favorite from the set. The swirling, sparkly guitar tones complimented the crystalline, whirling synthesizer sounds while drums and bass held down a very steady foundation. Even though Japanese Breakfast has a generally mellow sound, the crowd energy did not fade at all– even on their more relaxed tracks. Eventually, they reached the end of their set and closed with the fan-favorite “Everybody Wants to Love You”, leaving everyone content and anticipating their eventual return to Colorado.