04 May, 2013

The Men at the Hi-Dive

Dirty Few opened up the show at the Hi-Dive. From their demeanor on stage at this and four other shows I’ve seen them performing, they consistently channel as many party vibes as the stage can contain while imbibing before, between, and during songs.  Friday was no exception as they blew through their primary and back-up beers and demanded Twisted Tea tallboys, which were quickly delivered by an attentive friend.

Twisted tea gets the people going.

Twisted tea gets the people going.

Dirty Few, yes!

Dirty Few, yes!

If they weren’t teetering on the edge of drunkenness, their schtick would seem forced. But the moments when Spencer, twin brother Seth Stone, and the rest of the band kick into one of their many catchy songs, the crowd is fully convinced that their honest music is all they need to party. Interspersed between songs and sips of alcohol are bursts of a common DJ sound effect (wamp wamp) and a call to give the band a “God Damn!”  Spencer and Seth make excellent hype men, and during the set, quite a set of performance artists as Spencer spit a spunk-thick loogie onto the ceiling and waited for it to fall back into his mouth.

Spencer waits.

Spencer waits.

I’m not sure where I see Dirty Few in a couple of years when their collection of roughly 10 songs grows stale and their audience starts to demand fresh material, but as long as they can continue furiously pounding out their current party jams, I’ll remain a fan.

The second band is another local by the name of Glass Hits.  While they allegedly draw influence from Drive Like Jehu, a wonderfully raucous punk band the likes of which are rarely seen, I found them to be an overly serious attempt at groove driven heavy rock. At one moment, when a fan walked on stage, gyrated towards the band and then dove off.  As the fan approached, I saw the singer look at him cautiously then back away rather than embrace the fan and his passionate energy. Had this happened during Dirty Few, Spencer might’ve jumped with him.

Glass Hits.

Glass Hits.

I certainly don’t believe that every band playing fast and loud music should be devoted to partying and subject themselves to humiliation and injury, but at least some humor should show through the act they bring to the stage. During a very intimate set by How to Dress Well at Larimer Lounge about a month ago, a group of rude fans continued to talk and yell during quiet moments of his set, to which he responded that he wanted whatever they were on.  He added that the next song was for them and hoped they would enjoy his and the next act’s sets.  At no point during Glass Hits’ set did they seem to engage with the audience or show the passion with which Dirty Few showers them.

Plainly, The Men.

Plainly, The Men.

Lastly, The Men.  I’ve been excited to see this band since first hearing their previous release Open Your Heart.  Its pulsating rhythms and LOUD, sometimes twangy guitars are unlike anything I’ve heard in the rock genre for a long while. That they bristle with honest lyrics only makes the songs more appealing. I’m not sure if the records are recorded live, but on stage, each band member seems to have an almost telepathic understanding of when to shift from a repetitive groove to an improvised section and then back to the recognizable song.  Some of the songs being played stretched on for nearly 10 minutes as lead singer and guitarist Nick Chiericozzi shook his hands after a song to relieve the stress of that consistent playing.

Everyone sings.

Everyone sings.

The most remarkable thing about The Men is their ability to throw together vaguely related genres such as country, guitar pop, Americana, and psych rock without sounding forced. Perhaps it is the ability to bridge between melody and cacophony that makes them so believable. There wasn’t a time during the set where I didn’t feel like their guttural abandon would miss a beat or sound forced, but I really don’t know how they can do it every night of a tour without burning out. They must be The Men.

Harmonica and lap steel.

Harmonica and lap steel.

<em>Review by Kerry Nordstrom.</em>

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