Diane Coffee, Ned Garthe Explosion, and Shady Elders at the Marquis Theatre in Denver, CO on 12/8/16

On an extremely cold Thursday night, people left the comfort of their warm homes to enter the non-heated Marquis TheatreRed Bull was the sponsor for the evening of music.  They provided three dollar tickets if you went through their website.  The first one hundred to arrive received free hot chocolate.  Complimentary cocktails (Red Bull and fruit juice) were given to the legal consumers (one per customer), and a Glam Bar provided free makeovers by Alison Renee Smith for anyone that wanted to emulate the feature attraction’s glittery persona.  The headliner saw Headwig and the Angry Inch at the Denver Theater for Performing Arts Complex the night before compliments of Red Bull.  A perfect musical for a band named Diane Coffee fronted by a guy named Shaun Fleming.

Diane Coffee

After the band played a brief introduction, Shaun Fleming entered in a purple pantsuit channeling Prince and possibly Hillary Clinton with sparkling glitter providing a mask around his eyes.  A large number of the audience had matching glitter thanks to the Glam Bar.  The psychedelic Motown group had the crowd (still in their coats, hats, and gloves) grooving along to every song.  Fleming engaged his fans with a smile and gleeful (but hyper) between-song-banter. When he sang Green, so much energy was pouring through his grape color outfit expressing, “Now that I can’t have you leaving again/My heart bleeds and I need a friend/Now that I can’t have you leave anymore/No, no I won’t ever walk out the door.” Fleming fell to the floor James Brown style.  I was waiting for someone to put a cape around him like the Godfather of Soul.  But he got up and disappeared backstage while the band all dressed in conservative black continued to play their soulful hearts out.

Diane Coffee All photos by the
Rock and Roll Princess

When Shaun Fleming returned, he was wearing paisley pants and a sparking tuxedo jacket without a shirt.  Free from the constraints of the pantsuit, the pace picked up. Singing I Dig You, Fleming went all over the stage and even on top of some unstable amplifiers.  That alone would be a difficult task, but it was revealed that Fleming was doing it with vintage buckled shoes held together with duct tape.  The footwear started to fall apart near the end of the show.  Fleming’s energy must have been too much for the leather to hold together. This is the third time I have seen Diane Coffee. The first time Fleming had a broken foot, the second time their instruments started to crumble, and now Fleming’s shoes were the latest victims of their powerful music. Not That Easy could be the perfect song describing the hardship of being Fleming’s foot, instruments, or shoes.  But the closing song appeared to be about coming home to a love.  The band left with the crowd full of free drinks, wearing sparkles, and wanting more.

Ned Garthe Explosion
Denver’s own Ned Garthe Explosion was the second band on the bill.  When lead singer Ned Garthe appeared, he started shouting, “Boring.  Get off the stage” to himself.  This set the tone for a fun spirited set of music. Their humor filled lyrics had the audience chanting “Dumb Friends League” (a reference to a local animal shelter).  When they performed I like You, the crowd broke out into a PBR soaked mosh pit.  Shady Elder’s own Fox Rodemich was near the front of the stage singing along and tossing her gloves at the band.  Bass player and Joe Walsh doppelgänger Tyler Breuer kept the band grounded despite Garthe’s microphone stand falling down throughout the night.  Keeping the free stuff coming, lighted mini flashlights were handed out to the crowd to promote their new album Flashlight Tan.  It provided a cheap special effect and made me wonder how long I needed to keep dancing with a flashlight.  

Shady Elders

The band Shady Elders started the showcase.  Denver native, Fox Rodemich, lead the four-piece through a genre of music known as Cold Summer (think Goth beach music).  In an effort to warm up the crowd, Rodemich told the audience to move around and dance while they played Summer Song.  She slowly strummed her guitar and sang like she was the only one in the room.  Rodemich’s haunting voice and Miles Eichner’s surf guitar licks had the crowd swaying back in forth.  Keeping with the night of give aways, the band gifted vinyl albums of their music to the first few fans at the merch both that saw their message on social media.

See you at the next show.  I will be the one dancing with my free mini flashlight not dressed in a pantsuit.

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