Top 5 Show Moments of 2015

Looking back at 2015, there has been numerous show moments that changed my life.  Okay.  Nothing that dramatic.  Let’s just say they still make me smile. I have narrowed it down to five. Please keep in mind that I don’t usually see big stadium shows and my taste is a little left of center. So drum role please……….  

Diane Coffee
5.   Diane Coffee, Ogden Theatre, 10-28-15 – Shaun Fleming, the former drummer of Foxygen, now has his own band named Diane Coffee. Fleming has stated, “He is Diane Coffee. His band is Diane Coffee.  We are all Diane Coffee.” Their Psychedelic Motown Brand of Music was hypnotizing.  Fleming has an amazing vocal range, funny between song banter, and danced throughout the set with a recently broken foot.  You could see the pain in his face as he ran across the stage all in the name of rock and roll.
The Kids in the Hall

4.  The Kids in the Hall, Paramount Theatre, 6-6-15 –A Canadian Comedy Troop reunited for a rare tour. You might know them from their HBO Show that aired from 1988-1995.  The Kids in the Hall (now way too old to be kids) opened their live sketch show wearing wedding dresses. They took turns telling the audience why it was a good idea for a man to wear a wedding dress on a daily bases. Bruce McCollock stated, “I wear a wedding dress to punish society.”  Proving that comedy can be as punk rock as any music act.

The Darkness

3.  The Darkness, Summit Music Hall, 10/16/15 – Justin Hawkins leads one of the best remaining live rock acts. Their most recent work is a concept album about Vikings and it’s amazing (not to many bands can pull that off). Hawkins can hit high notes like Freddie Mercury and tell funny stories like Russell Brand.  When he rode on the shoulders of a bouncer while shredding on the guitar, I got inspired to start this blog.




Sleater-Kinney
2.  Sleater-Kinney, Ogden Theatre, 2/12/15 – I only knew singer Carrie Brownstein from her work as a journalist for NPR and an actor from the television show Portlandia.  When I heard she was in a band before any of that started, I was intrigued. Reunited after a nine year break, the trio did not disappoint. The most memorable part of their performance was when band-mate Corin Tucker performed “Gimme Love” with such power chills went down the spine of everyone in the audience.

Sign outside of The Hi-Dive
1.  Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats, The Hi-Dive, 8/24/15 – There is always a show every year you hear about that is impossible to attend. The planets aligned that day and a friend scored me a golden ticket for the local soul band breaking big. Rateliff wanted to give back to the 300 person capacity club that supported him throughout the years. I have never seen a band so happy and an audience so appreciative. It was only a 45 minute set, but the crowd singing along to their hit “S.O.B.”(Rolling Stone’s 19th best song of 2015) is still echoing in my head.   
Everyone here at Old Man at the Show Headquarters wishes you a Happy New Year.  See you at the next show.

Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox in Denver, Colorado at Paramount Theatre on 12-18-15

 

Back in October, I saw the band The Darkness perform their hit single “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” in the middle of a mosh pit. Little did I know, I would hear a 1940’s New Orleans Style version of the same song performed by a runner up of The Voice a few months later.

Scott Bradlee is a music producer that started making videos with diverse musicians covering pop songs in different genres of music (Big Band, Jazz, and Swing). The videos became viral …which lead to albums …which lead to a tour.  A very talented backing band, exceptional singers, and one remarkable tap dancer make up the current touring version of Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox.

Postmodern Jukebox

The show almost didn’t happen. On Friday, Interstate 80 was shut down due to the weather stranding them in Rock Springs, Wyoming.  The TSA also had issues with one of the musician’s natural 420 remedy for Epilepsy. Despite these obstacles, The Postmodern Jukebox found a way to persevere. They ditched the tour bus for two Buddy Holly looking charter jets and flew into the Mile High City.

Brass of the Jukebox

Blake Lewis, a runner-up on the sixth season of American Idol, was the Master of Ceremonies. Not only did he do a impressive job of moving the show along, his Louis Prima style version of Sisqo’s “Thong Song” was amazing. To refresh your memory, some of the lyrics are “She had dumps like a truck and thighs like what.” He even figured out how to bring his beatbox skills to a jazz version of Imagine Dragons’  “Radioactive.”

Joey Cook, a contestant from the fourteenth season of American Idol, was very charming.  She performed a 1920’s era version of Plain White T’s “Hey There Delilah” complete with an accordion solo. You almost felt like you were being transported back to time despite her blue hair.

Sadly Haley Reinhart, the singer in a large majority of their videos, was not along for this part of the tour.  Malya Sykes, a contestant from The Voice season seven, competently took her place.  Her haunting jazz version of Radiohead’s “Creep” really brought out the profound lyrics.  Of course, my favorite was her New Orleans Style version of The Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love.”  She delivered a female perspective to the song singing, “I want to kiss you every minute, every hour, every day.”

Ariana Savalas and Sarah Reich

The funniest part of the evening was not from song lyrics.  It was when Ariana Savalas, the daughter of film and TV actor Telly Savalas, interacted with the a “silver fox” in the front row. She brought the “handsome man in the smart looking fleece vest” to the stage for an uncomfortable embrace before launching into a 1920’s Gatsby Style version of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” She was accompanied by tap dancer Sarah Reich from So You Think You Can Dance.  Later Reich tapped to an impressive Star Wars Medley in a sparkling gold outfit.

Casey Abrams is All About the Bass

Casey Abrams, the bearded man-bun wearing contestant from the tenth season of American Idol, was the crowd favorite.  His New Orleans versions of Sam Smith’s “I’m Not the Only One” and Guns N’ Roses’  “Sweet Child of Mine” transformed the songs with energy and fun.  He also played the stand up bass throughout the evening which came in handy when all the singers sang a Swing version of Meghan Trainor’s “All about That Bass.”  (By the way, can’t we have just a little treble?)

During an after concert nightcap at a nearby tavern the original version of The Darkness “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” started to play to my amusement.  (What are the odds.)  Bringing the evening to a full circle.

Postmodern Jukebox’s Denver Selfie

Michael Franti, A Great Big World, and The Rua in Denver, CO at the Ogden Theater 12-9-15

Seeing a Christmas tree on stage along with local disc-jockies wearing ugly Christmas sweaters, I was fearful that I entered an awful office holiday party.   But instead of hearing songs about a supernatural reindeer freak, three amazing striped down sets were performed with only one Christmas song (that was quite good).

Michael Franti and J Bowman

With all the horrible news from Paris, Colorado Springs, and San Bernardino, it was refreshing to see Michael Franti performing with a positive message about peace.  The six foot eight inch dreadlocked vegan barefoot musician from San Francisco, California was inspiring. Accompanied only by J Bowman on electric guitar, Franti performed his hits between stories about his life, family, and positivity. During his song about his new bride, “Life is Better with You” a couple near the front got engaged.  Franti witnessed it and made them re-create the moment on stage which moved Franti to tears.   (She said yes by the way.  Maybe she didn’t want to say yes, but was pressured by the moment to say yes.  Anyway, I wish them the best.)  Michael Franti introduced the song “Once A Day” about overcoming the challenges of his son’s kidney disease.  The song begins as a rap and turns into an anthem about rising up.

A picture of people taking pictures

Franti jumped off the stage and joined the crowd to perform  “I’m Alive (Life Sounds Like).” With a wireless mic, he danced through the crowd and climbed up to the balcony all in his bare feet.   This is not an easy task since the floor at the Ogden is disgusting to walk on even in shoes.  It was very powerful to hear the repeated chants about being alive with the crowd jumping up and down in unison.  Michael Franti repeatedly asked the audience to hug the one they love.  This made my single friends ask if they should slash their wrists.  (They didn’t. They’re alive and doing well.  Stop worrying.)

Appropriately, Franti ended his set by playing Bob Marley’s “One Love” and jumping into the crowd once again.  He stayed to take selfies until a few mesmerized woman got a little too touchy.

A Great Big World in their gay apparel

Before Michael Franti took the stage, A Great Big World, a duo from New York made up of singer songwriters Ian Axel and Chad Kings performed in their holiday sweaters.   Axel played the keyboards with such intensity it was hard for him to remain seated and in his deer sweater (he took it off half way through their set).  Kings remained calm with a constant smile on his face probably due to the chilly penguin that adorned his sweater.  The highlight was when Ian Axel played their hit “Say Something” alone on stage.  The version was so impressive, I almost forgot that this was performed with Christina Aguilera on the recorded version. 

The Rua

The show started with The Rua a charming band from the United Kingdom made up of siblings Roseanna Brown on lead vocals and guitar,  Alanna Brown on vocals and keyboard, Jonathan Brown on vocals and violin, and a laptop on drums. When Roseanna stopped the first song when she realized her guitar was not plugged in and declared herself an idiot,  I became a fan.  I was surprised how confident they were on stage for being so young.  This was explained when they revealed acting in the Harry Potter films at an early age.  They even had the crowd guess what houses their characters attended at Hogwarts for sweets.  (I didn’t win because those movies are for children and I am the old guy at the show.)  The Rua played the only Christmas song of the night, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” with impressive harmonies from all three of them.   It made it difficult not to be in the Christmas spirit.