By Hannah Morrison
This past Sunday, Merchandise headlined the Hi-Dive on South Broadway, bringing their unique sound with them. Despite an admittedly low-energy crowd, every band on the bill gave it their all.
Locals Palehorse/Palerider were there to kick off the night with a dark and ethereal set. Combining the droning, distorted guitars of shoegaze with dark tones and lyrics, the band completely lived up to their self-proclaimed genre of “doomgaze.” Their set was long, flowing, and mesmerizing to watch. Palehorse/Palerider kept their set interesting by opening one song with an ominous audio recording. They also incorporated a drum circle over a looping drone where vocalist Brandon Richier and bass guitarist David Atkinson added their own drum skills to the mix to create a cool swirl of interlocking beats with their drummer Nate Marcy. Their debut album, “Burial Songs” is out now on Graven Earth Records, and you can cop a cassette or listen to the whole thing over on their bandcamp.
Hailing from Brooklyn NY and here for their first ever show in Denver, B Boys were next and the highlight of my night. From the get-go, they mixed their goofy stage presence with urgent guitars and fast punk vocals. They were endlessly energetic and delivered a tight set of tracks drawn from their 2016 EP “No Worry No Mind” and their debut full-length “Dada,” out now on Captured Tracks. Featuring Andrew Kerr, Brendon Avalos, and Britton Walker, B Boys was one of the most compelling acts I’ve seen perform recently. Their overall sound seems to draw heavily from other modern artists like Parquet Courts, yet parts of their set were also reminiscent of older punks like The Fall and The Clash. Definitely check out B Boys’ music if any of these artists count among your favorites, and if not, check them out anyway. They aren’t to be missed.
Merchandise ended the night with a fairly chill set, mostly drawing from their latest release, “A Corpse Wired for Sound.” Mixing guitars with synth leads and drum machine beats, the Florida-based band of vocalist Carson Cox, guitarist Dave Vassalotti, and bassist Patrick Brady played a cool and danceable set. Their sound was hard to define, but the band members self-describe it as “somewhere in the gray area of punk, noise, and pop music.” As performers, the band were both earnest and lighthearted. Cox’s presence as a frontman was relaxed and self-assured—he cracked jokes in between songs and seemed to handle the set effortlessly. The band created a sonic landscape that overstretched the boundaries of a small venue like the Hi-Dive, and they definitely deserve to be playing bigger venues. Overall, Merchandise closed out on a great night of music and would be more than worth seeing live at any opportunity.