303 Music

Esmé Patterson and The Still Tide at The Levitt Pavilion in Denver, CO on 8/17/18.

Esmé Patterson through the fog

After getting through security, I noticed a woman with the sides of her hair shaved wearing a gold sequin dress driving a golf cart. It wasn’t someone overdressed heading to the links. It was musician Esmé Patterson on her way to perform at the Levitt Pavilion. The venue is a non-profit open-air stage that holds fifty free concerts every summer. The crowd was smallish apparently due to the competition of a downtown music festival.

Esmé Patterson

Esmé Patterson is a local artist, but nationally known through her many musical endeavors: co-founding the indie folk ensemble Paper Bird, her successful solo career, and the hit song Dearly Departed with Shakey Graves (an Americana musician from Austin, TX not a Scooby Doo character out to frighten the kids in the Mystery Machine).

The stage filled with fog as the lights shined on Patterson’s dress making it sparkle through the haze. The energetic crowd consisted of middle-aged couples with fancy portable lawn furniture, kids enjoying the last few moments of summer, and devoted Esmé Patterson fans. She performed a variety of material from her three solo albums and a few new tunes from an upcoming LP. Patterson introduced No River from her album We Were Wild by dedicating it to “the humans out there and the others too.” 

Esmé Patterson and her band

Esmé Patterson revealed the song My Young Man from her first album featured someone famous (it was another Denver artist Nathaniel Rateliff before he formed the Night Sweets). She played three songs from her Woman to Woman concept album. It gives a voice to famous female song characters such as Townes Van Zandt’s Loretta and The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby. For example, Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean inspired her to compose What Do You Call a Woman? Patterson yelled“If you make love, ain’t she your lover?/If you make love, ain’t she your lover?” The set ended without an encore because Patterson declared, “It’s just lying. You tell the audience you’re done and come back to play.”

The Still Tide

Supporting band The Still Tide took the stage as the sun was setting on the opposite end of the venue. Lead singer, Anna Morsett, encouraged the crowd to turn around and take in Colorado’s beauty. Besides being a guitar tech for The Devil Makes Three, the multi-instrumentalist has played and recorded with numerous bands. The bedroom voiced singer lead her band through confessional songs with impressive guitar playing from Jacob Miller. Morsett mentioned the guitarist was gulping an energy drink to prepare himself to perform again with Esmé Patterson (he’s also in her band). When Morsett made a mistake on a chorus, she joked that the crowd should look again at the beautiful sunset. As the final song ended, Anna Morsett wisecracked, “(they) have EPs available for the endangered species … the compact disc player owner.”

See you at the next show. I’ll be the one in the gold sequin outfit driving a golf cart into the sunset.

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