Well we finally got to check out the newest live music venue in Denver, the Summit Music Hall, where we caught the AP Tour featuring Bring Me The Horizon and August Burns Red. Tahoe came a little late in the evening so i got to check out the venue on my own for awhile and it's pretty nice. first though, the negatives; located on Blake Street makes is super tough for parking, and expensive. i found a lot that was $5 for the evening which isn't bad, but other venues in Denver you can find spots on the street for free. I had to park about 7 blocks away and that made for a long walk in the rain too, which was alright but would have sucked if it was in the snow.
The venue is bigger than the Marquis and Cervantes, but not as big as the Fillmore, probably right in-line with The Gothic Theater. You can see the stage from the bar which is nice, and the bar is an island so even though there were tons of punk-rock jocks and meatheads clogging up the bar stools, it wasn't tough to get service. Drinks were a little pricey for a rock show, $6 for a PBR tall-boy hurts the poor punk rockers. There is an upstairs but there's nothing up there but a railing and some seats, so it's basically a ledge to house more kids, and that works well, everyone has a good view. The sound was pretty good, very loud but the vocals weren't mixed well so i'm not sure if thats a venue issue, or the mixer dude, or something else. Security was tight, and there was a barrier between the kids and the stage which gets a "boo" in my book, totally lame. Otherwise, it'll be a good venue for bands that are too big to play a bar, but can't fill up a large venue like the Fillmore (think Anberlin, As I Lay Dying, underOATH, The Devil Wears Prada...)
As for the bands, the AP Tour lineup might be the worse lineup ever conceived. Opening the show was This Is Hell, one of my favorite bands with their throwback style of east-coast punk hardcore. The crowd hated them (more later...). Next was Polar Bear Club, a kind of melodic punk softcore group that was like night-and-day received better from the crowd. then Emarosa who, in my opinion, was awful. Sure they're talented and the lead singer can really sing, but thats the problem, this wasn't a group of singing bands, this was heavy music. Emarosa is straight-up radio rock, or mall-rock, wannabe arena-rock. That was tough to suffer through, but i give them a little credit; the lead singer had the flu and he still toughed-out a full set.
The headliners were Bring Me the Horizon, supported by August Burns Red. I have to admit that i haven't listened much to Bring Me the Horizon so Tahoe and i left before their set. August Burns Red was solid, as they usually are. They're so tight with their live performance which is pretty incredible considering how technical their music is. lead singer Jake is versatile and energetic, switching his vocals between higher-pitched yelling to low low-pitched growls. He passed the mic quite a big to keep the crowd involved, and at one point, i think during "Thirty and Seven" or "Back Burner" he instructed the crowd to crowd-surf to the stage and sing along. Not many people tried, but it was worth a shot.
August Burns Red played a typical set including songs like "Composure", "Meddler", "Truth of a Liar" and "Mariana's Trench". They also added "Escape Artist" and "Indonesia" two songs i don't think i've seen them perform live. They opened the show with some techno dance stuff that got the crowd pretty amped up, and then played right into "Composure". Near the end of their 45-minute set, i believe right after "Thirty and Seven", Matt Grenier (drummer) played a drum-solo for about 5 minutes. it's also entertaining to hear solos at shows, the only other one i've seen was from As I Lay Dying. The solo was impressive, not amazing though, and that lead right into "White Washed" for the closer. I've never seen them play "White Washed" and it was awesome, one of my favorite songs.
August Burns Red are finishing up a great 2010. Coming off lasts years release of Constellations, this year the band released a live dvd of a hometown show, which they called Home. It's gotten a lot of praise and that released coincided with the AP Tour (AP Magazine) where they graced the cover of AP Magazine and supported Bring Me the Horizon for the tour. Great year, this band is only going to get bigger and more popular. I wish that Jake would have talked a little about their faith during the Denver show since the crowd was very diverse and there were plenty of people who would benefit from hearing about Christ, but i understand that giving a little speech or testimony every night of a tour can be tough.
Back to This is Hell, the opener. For their set i sat at the bar enjoying a nice PBR. Two meat-heads came and sat next to me and proceeded to tear-down TIH for the entire set. i found them so typical, so easy to type-cast, and they were hilarious. The main guy was about 6'5'', probably my age, pretty ripped wearing his too-tight Underoath t-shirt. they both ordered mixed drinks and proceeded to rip This is Hell. ultra-original comments like "this IS hell" and "go back to New York!" showed how cool they were as they oogled every female that walked by. Foul language never bothers me, but it was funny to me that this dude was swearing non-stop will sporting a Christian-band's t-shirt saying things like "this band is so bad it's making me drink, so now i'll be wasted so i can $@%& people up in the pit during August Burns Red." Really? sad.
For more on punk-rock jocks and why most punk rockers hate jocks you could check out Good Riddance's "Salt" or Assorted Jelly Beans' "Punk Rock Jock". There's a reason why people go to shows, and to each his own, but i find that going to shows to get drunk and fight people in the pit is the lowest reason, and that earns you the least respect. This dude was one of the main reasons i wished Jake from ABR would have taken a second to talk about his faith, just to put things in perspective.
The show was fun though in the end. I got a kick out of the meat-head at the bar as i stood singing along with This Is Hell. I don't expect many people to enjoy TiH's style of punk rock, its an acquired taste and it helps to enjoy east-coast hardcore bands like Warzone and Madball to really understand what This is Hell is all about. August Burns Red was awesome, so talented.
Good Riddance - "Salt"
Don't be alarmed please don't take it personally
But you're acting out on everybody here
You're ability your virility's in doubt
So one more time you clench your fists
Scream and shout
You high-five your friends
Like you're jocks at a football
It seems you don't know when to quit
The crowd stares in silence
As you practice violence
To show you're the king of the pit
What now we're sick of it
So now no one goes
To the front at shows anymore
Because we don't want to be
Kicked in the head
Or punched in the nose
We don't care where you're from
We don't care what set you claim
Why don't you get involved
You don't even know our names
Any scene worth it's salt
Would vilify aggression
It seems that aggression's all you know
So stop throwing your fists
Put out your hand
Participate in the show
Here we go!